They liked it
Big Pharma liked President Bush's Pandemic Flu plan better than we did. Here is their Press Release, brought to you as a public service:
WASHINGTON, Nov. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- PhRMA President and Chief Executive Officer Billy Tauzin issued the following statement today regarding President Bush's avian flu speech before the National Institutes of Health:
"President Bush, the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Congress are taking essential steps necessary to protect Americans from a potential public health crisis in the event of a flu pandemic. The process of preparing the nation will continue to be a work in progress but today's efforts are an excellent and comprehensive first step.
"The President's plan calls for early detection, preparation and an effective response on a federal, state and local level. All three play a role in protecting the public from a flu outbreak. By stockpiling medicines, public health officials will be able to respond quickly and effectively in the event of a pandemic.
"PhRMA member companies will continue to work closely with U.S. and foreign governments and the World Health Organization to ensure that patients here in America and around the world have the vaccines and antiviral treatments that are needed to save lives.
"Liability reform is a critically important part of this plan. It's clear that the nation's liability system is broken. In 1988, there were 25 manufacturers of vaccines in the United States. Today there are four companies that supply the U.S. market with flu vaccine.
"While a new avian flu vaccine could provide an overwhelming benefit to society, no medicine is risk free. Companies should not be forced to balance the need of finding an effective vaccine for this potentially devastating pandemic against the certain knowledge that trial lawyers will pursue claims exploiting the inherent risks of vaccine development."
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country's leading pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to inventing medicines that allow patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. PhRMA members alone invested an estimated $38.8 billion in 2004 in discovering and developing new medicines. PhRMA companies are leading the way in the search for new cures.