According to Evelyn Pringle, investigative journalist writing for Counterpunch, the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest (CMPI), which brings us DrugWonks, is virtually run by ex-FDA staffers appointed by the Bush Administration. Here's what she has to say:
On its web site, the Center describes itself as "a non-partisan, non-profit educational charity," and Mr Pitts is indeed listed as President, but his bio also says he is the Senior Vice President for Global Health Affairs at none other than Manning, Selvege & Lee.Also see "Drug Wonks Are PR Wonks".
The Manning firm apparently fills two important roles. It's a breeding ground for industry moles preparing to enter "public service" and serves as an employment hub for industry shills once they finish their on average 2- to 3-year stint inside the Bush Administration.
In his CMPI bio, Mr Pitts describes his duties as the FDA's Associate Commissioner from 2002 to 2004 as serving as the agency's "Chief Messaging Officer."
On June 7, 2007, Mr Pitts had this to say in defense of fellow hit-man Mr Arbesfeld on the Pharmalot web site: "I know Doug Arbesfeld and he is a guy devoted to advancing the public health."
According to Mr Pitts, in sending the derogatory e-mail about Dr Nissen to journalists, Mr Arbesfeld was just standing up for the FDA and that people should know about the sacrifice he made by accepting a job in government.
"He is also a guy," Mr Pitts says, "who took a pretty significant pay cut to put in some time in public service."
Some would no doubt argue that it's difficult to imagine that Mr Arbesfeld will end up in the poor house as a result of serving as the top industry mole inside the FDA.
Mr Pitts' sidekick, Mr Goldberg, is indeed listed as the vice president of CMPI, but Mr Goldberg's bio also says he used to be Director of the Manhattan Institute's Center for Medical Progress and Chairman of its 21st Century FDA Task Force.
In fact, a review of the CMPI web site turned up a whole nest of ex-moles who served the industry in one capacity or another in the Bush Administration's FDA. For instance, Daniel Troy, the former FDA Chief Counsel, also known as the "Godfather of Preemption," sits on this "charity's" Advisory Board.
Troy,s bio points out that he "played a principal role in FDA,s generally successful assertion of preemption in selected product liability cases."
This "assertion of preemption" says that, as long as the FDA has approved a drug and its label, private citizens in state courts cannot sue the drug company for failing to warn about a product's serious health risks, even in cases where it can be shown that the company concealed studies that revealed the risk from the public and the FDA.
Now that he's switched back to private practice, Mr Troy's CMPI bio says he currently specializes in constitutional and appellate litigation, as well as strategic counseling with "particular focus" on what else - clients regulated by the FDA.
The Advisory Board also includes, Tomas Philipson, whose bio says he served as the Senior Economic Advisor to the commissioner of FDA during 2003 and 2004 and as the Senior Economic Advisor to the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in 2004 and 2005.
That would mean that Mr Philipson served Mark McClellan, and they are now apparently joined at the hip because, as part of a program called "Patient-Centric and Prospective Medicine," CMPI says it has created the Patient-Centric Health Forum and that Mr McClellan, "former Medicare administrator and FDA commissioner, will chair the group."
So, it would appear that anyone looking for the retirement home for industry hit men who served in the Bush Administration's FDA can find it right in the middle of cyberspace on the CMPI web site.