Thai Compulsory Licensing for HIV/AIDS Drugs: Sally Pipes is a ruthless hack

April 5, 2008

Here’s a perfect example of how industry-sponsored lobby groups distort good science, de-rail reasonable policy, and sabotage practical initiatives that save lives:

Sally Pipes authored an op-ed in the Bellingham Tribune entitled: “Thailand’s misuse of ‘compulsory licensing’ allowed corrupt officials to steal millions”.

The article is a bunch of lies. Period

Robert Weissman, the director of Essential Action, “a public health advocacy and corporate accountability group based in Washington,” replies to Pipes’ hack-job in yesterday’s Bellingham Tribune.

Weissman refutes Pipes’ baseless claims one by one. He also points out a minor conflict of interest that Pipes’ failed to disclose to readers herself: as President and CEO of the “Pacific Research Institute,” much of Pipes’ salary and organizational support comes from the same pharmaceutical firms that oppose compulsory licensing.

Also turns out, PRI is little more than a cog in the corporate right’s noise machine. Check out this fact sheet from exxonsecrets.org. This so-called “think tank” churns out junk science and editorials at lightning speed. It also just happens to oppose global warming, telecommunications regulations, compulsory licensing, affirmative action and government-supported healthcare reform while accepting funding from the oil industry, the telecommunications industry, big pharma, and a whole slew of conservative foundations including Scaife, Olin, Roe, Templeton and others.

Oh, and did I mention that PRI also uses junk economics and butchered data to support “Tort Reform”?

Big tobacco? Yep, PRI’s got that covered too.

PRI also just happened to receive over $10,000 in funding from the White House Writer’s Group according to it’s 2003 financials.

Nothing wrong with taking money from folks who share your views on big political issues. Problem is, when you do that, you really owe it to the newspaper reading and television watching public to disclose your relationships to these folks. That’s why what Pipes did was wrong. That’s why I’m calling her a hack.

That’s also why the next time a quote shows up from one of these folks in your local paper or on your television news, you should write a letter to the editor (and feel free to include as much information from this post as you can – just remember to attribute appropriately) letting them know that Pipes and her PRI pals need to play by the rules of responsible journalism.

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