Last December, Senate Majority Leader Bill First (R-TN) and House Speaker Dennis
Hastert inserted a provision in the Defense Appropriations bill that granted
vaccine manufactures near-total
immunity for injuries or deaths (even in cases of “gross negligence”)
caused by their drugs during a viral pandemic, such as an outbreak of the avian
flu. The legislation was “worth
billions of dollars” to a small group of drug makers.
The provision was inserted in the dead of the night, after House and Senate
conferees had agreed the provision would not be included in the bill. According
to Roll Call, the brazen
move was completely unprecedented.
report from Public Citizen reveals that vaccine-industry
lobbyists essentially wrote the provision themselves. This morning’s
Vaccine industry officials helped shape legislation behind the scenes
that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist secretly amended into a bill
to shield them from lawsuits, according to e-mails obtained by a public advocacy
E-mails and documents written by a trade group for the vaccine-makers
show the organization met privately with Frist’s staff and the White
House about measures that would give the industry protection from lawsuits
filed by people hurt by the vaccines.
The final language of the provision was exactly what the vaccine manufactures
requested in thier emails and meetings.
How did the industry get such VIP treatment from First and Hastert?
Generous campaign contributions always help. Another key component: the vaccine
industry was represented by a lobbying team that included three
former Frist staffers and Dennis Hastert’s son, Joshua Hastert.