PhRMA’s Money Affects Human Lives–and Journalism Too

Pharmaceuticals (cc photo: Erich Ferdinand)

(cc photo: Erich Ferdinand)

Josh Marshall, editor and publisher of Talking Points Memo (3/27/14), is “excited to announce that we’ve launched a very cool new section” to the  website called Idea Lab: Impact. Marshall describes its focus:

How is science and applied technology affecting real human lives? How is it impacting people and communities living on the margins of global wealth and on the margins of the technological transformations of the 21st century–whether that’s in Sub-Saharan Africa or Appalachia or in congested great cities of the world. Basically, how is and how can science and technology change the lives of people in their everyday lives–not only with their gadgets and not only for people who command great wealth, but real world impacts for everyone.

Marshall also points out that Idea Lab: Impact is “being sponsored by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.” Yes, PhRMA, the lobbying group that has helped make the marketing of medicine one of the most profitable industries in America–they certainly do have an interest in how “science and applied technology affect[s] real human lives.”

For example, when PhRMA  got the Obama administration to oppose letting people import drugs from other countries, and agree not to let Medicare negotiate lower prices for drugs (Huffington Post, 9/13/09)–that affected real human lives, from Appalachia to congested great cities, by making some humans unable to afford medicine that they need to keep living.

And when PhRMA persuaded Vice President Al Gore to oppose South Africa making its own AIDS drugs to deal with a catastrophic epidemic (Extra!, 9/99), that affected real human lives too–in Sub-Saharan Africa, like Marshall says.

Yes, with such a direct interest in how technology impacts human lives, it’s no wonder PhRMA is eager to give its money to fund Josh Marshall’s journalism on the subject. The only question is: Why is he willing to take it?






About Jim Naureckas

Extra! Magazine Editor Since 1990, Jim Naureckas has been the editor of Extra!, FAIR's monthly journal of media criticism. He is the co-author of The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error, and co-editor of The FAIR Reader: An Extra! Review of Press and Politics in the '90s. He is also the co-manager of FAIR's website. He has worked as an investigative reporter for the newspaper In These Times, where he covered the Iran-Contra scandal, and was managing editor of the Washington Report on the Hemisphere, a newsletter on Latin America. Jim was born in Libertyville, Illinois, in 1964, and graduated from Stanford University in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in political science. Since 1997 he has been married to Janine Jackson, FAIR's program director. You can follow Jim on Twitter at @JNaureckas.