A story on Forbes.com states federal prosecutors cited how GlaxoSmithKline paid experts to promote drugs that were not yet approved by the FDA as part of their prosecution of the drug maker. The article states, “The government alleges that Pinsky was paid a total of $275,000 over just two months – March and April 1999 – to deliver messages about Wellbutrin SR, a Glaxo antidepressant, “in settings where it did not appear that Dr. Pinsky was speaking for GSK.””
The question I have is this: Why is it illegal for GSK to pay someone to promote their unapproved product, but it is OK for the fossil fuel industry to pay millions to not-so-expert people that will promote climate change denial, even though their claims are false? The fossil fuel industry is doing precisely the same thing the DoJ is accusing GSK of doing.
The fossil fuel industry is engaged in a massive campaign that uses many of the same individuals and tactics used by the tobacco industry to deny research on the harmful effects of tobacco. Today, this well-funded machine is engaged in false science, false arguments and personal attacks to put out their message that there is no climate change and we don’t have to do anything about it. Dealing with climate change will likely cost the fossil fuel industry billions of dollars, so they have a big vested interest in deceiving the public and government officials to prevent any actions.
So, why isn’t the Department of Justice doing something about all of this?