Sarah Westwood sketches in some of the details of what many see as the pay-to-play scheme involving the overlapping activities of the Clinton Foundation and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (via Stephen Green):
The confusing structure can make tracing the precise destination of donations to the foundation a difficult task. However, donor records show major pharmaceutical firms — including Pfizer, Merck & Co., and Sanofi — have written generous checks to the Clinton Foundation. …
During Clinton’s first year at the agency, Merck lobbied the State Department to ease regulations restricting the distribution of its drugs “in certain Latin American markets,” according to lobbying disclosure forms from 2009. That placed the drug company’s international interests squarely on Clinton’s desk. …
As a senator, Clinton had reportedly written a letter urging the Department of Health and Human Services to approve Merck’s human papillomavirus vaccine in 2005.
By 2011, under her purview at the State Department, the U.S. government had teamed up with Merck to provide that same HPV vaccine to women in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa. The initiative was set to cost $75 million.
Merck, of course, is the company that produces Gardasil, the vaccine for HPV (which cannot be transmitted in any ordinary school activity) that the state of Rhode Island has mandated for all girls and boys entering seventh grade in a public or private school and for which the state’s Dept. of Health is actively advertising with mailers and robocalls.
Like Hillary Clinton’s misdeeds, however, these connections and the strange enthusiasm of government officials for specific drugs that push the boundaries of their purview are not high on the list of mainstream journalists. We all might chuckle that the federal government has apparently been pushing dental floss for over 30 years without any scientific basis (but much corporate enthusiasm, no doubt), but it isn’t enough simply to shrug and assume that this is how things work. It shouldn’t be.