Archive for September 17th, 2008

If you missed Tyson Slocum’s appearance on the Colbert Report, you can check it out on the Colbert Nation Web site. The U.S. Department of the Interior couldn’t have provided Comedy Central parodist Stephen Colbert with better fodder. As Derek Kravitz and Mary Pat Flaherty wrote in the Washington Post, a government investigation revealed an agency out of control with employees in charge of collecting oil industry royalties accused of doing drugs and having sex with industry reps. Tyson, director of Public Citizen’s energy program, wrote about these same royalty deals in a July post titled “Another sweetheart deal for the oil companies.”

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We at Public Citizen were pleased to hear that the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education’s (ACCME’s) Proposed Policy to Support Independence in Accredited Continuing Medical Education (CME) gave at least passing consideration to a proposal that “the commercial support of continuing medical education [should] end.” While we know this is a long-shot, we felt compelled to weigh in. That’s how activists get their jollies after all.

Call us pedantic if you like, but we just don’t think that for-profit companies, like drug makers, should be footing the bill for doctors’ continuing education. Ultimately, what your doctor learns will affect the care you receive. We simply can’t compromise on the integrity of anything likely to affect clinical care, and that’s exactly what this issue comes down to at the end of the day.

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It’s no secret that the government officials you elect to serve the public’s best interests often abuse their power and cost you your hard-earned dollars. So, when the average government employee witnesses the acts of corruption that continue to plague our political system, shouldn’t they have the freedom to speak up and protect the public’s rights without facing the risk of retaliation?

Though strong bills were passed last year that would provide whistleblowers with greater protection of their rights to free speech, now is the time to demand that Congress finish the job by passing a final bill.

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