Friday, July 18, 2003

False Witness-Not too long ago, we had a plagarism case here where a check in the Properties section of a Word document reveiled the original author of a piece, which was not the student who submitted it. Ben links to this Ramesh Ponnuru piece that echoes that case; he busts the Traditional Values Coalition for passing along anti-drug-importation proporganda written up for them by the big drug manufactures lobby PhRMA; the PhRMA lobbyist's name was in the Properties section. PhRMA wants to stop importation of cheap Canadian drugs, and I can make a honorable case against such importation. When the Canadian government forces drug companies to sell drugs at just above the marginal cost of making the drug, it saps the drug company's profitability, forcing the US consumer to pick up more of the drug company's fixed cost, a lot of which is R&D to make the drugs in the first place. That raises prices here in the US and cuts into the amount of R&D being done for fear of free riders sapping profitability. However, PhRMA oversold their case, they got the TVC to lobby hard, stating that the bill allowing the importation of foreign drugs would allow the abortion-inducer RU486 to be imported. That's the kind of factoid that will get pro-lifers in the TVC constituancy hot and bothered; TVC started to go after pro-life backers of the bill with the PhRMA-produced pieces. Problem is, RU486 isn't affected by this bill-the drug has to be given directly to, and administered by, doctors, so it isn't affected by the bill. If it were true, the TVC using PhRMA flyers would have been odd-looking but not that unseemly. Given that the claim is false, it looks like a sell-out. I've always been a bit uneasy with the TVC; it might be a northerner's reflexive distaste for a Mississippi conservative (this feeling well predates Trent Lott) or their aggressive promotion and stridency, but I've always felt something wasn't quite right with them. I hope that this is just a one shot deal, rather than an NRO move into a MetroCon-TheoCon food-fight.

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