The American people played right into the hands of the “influenza fear factor” created by the news for the benefit of the drug companies. Even the government has gotten on the band wagon to ensure the pharmaceutical industry’s profits remain intact.
1. Project Bioshield
ON June 16, 2003, Congress allocated $5.6 billion over the next 10 years to a program known as Project Bioshield. The funding is intended to encourage pharmaceutical research for vaccines and antidotes to be used in the event of a bioterrorism attack. Since there is no commercial market for these products, the linchpin of the legislation is the guarantee that the government will buy and stockpile these products, making it financially worthwhile for the companies. The legislation also gives the government power to bypass normal competitive bidding procedures and to relax safety and testing rules when necessary.
2. The Medicare Subscription Bill
On December 8, 2003, President Bush signed into law H.R 1: The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003. The program is expected to cost $400 billion subsidy over the 10 years that it exists but over the actuarial life of this program, it is a $7 trillion subsidy–$7 trillion. When the baby boomer generation retires, there is going to be massive influx of seniors into the system. It is estimated that between 2010 and 2030, the number of persons age 65 and older will increase from 39.7 million to 69.1 million, an average of one and a half million more seniors per year for 20 years.
The cost this bill will put on the system is going to be dramatic. It has been predicted that any child born in the United States today will immediately arrive with a $44,000 debt which that child will pay his working life in order to pay for the baby boomer’s benefits under Medicare. This is the largest intergenerational tax increase in the history of the country.
In the words of Ron Paul (R) from Texas: “Congress worked late into the night [the week of November 27, 2003] to pass a Medicare prescription drug bill that represents the single largest expansion of the federal welfare state since the Great Society programs of the 1960s. The new Medicare drug plan enriches pharmaceutical companies, fleeces taxpayers, and forces millions of older Americans to accept inferior drug coverage – while doing nothing to address the real reasons prescription drugs cost so much.
The government—and in particular medicare—is the largest customer of the pharmaceutical industry. It seems the hard questions were not asked: Why do drug companies need to charge $10/pill? Why can’t they lower the cost of medications to an affordable level for Seniors? Why can Seniors get the identical drugs for pennies on the dollar from Canada? Instead of reducing prices to make drugs affordable to low income seniors, drug companies now have a multi-trillion dollar, government-guaranteed subsidy for years to come.
3. Nationwide Flu vaccine program
A movement is afoot in Congress to create a long-term plan to ensure the supply of future influenza vaccines. On December 12, 2003, US Senate Majority Leader, Bill Frist (R-TN) reminded the American public that he had introduced legislation to develop a “national vaccine strategy and contingency plan.” 
All the pieces are in place to ensure that children receive the flu vaccine annually, and to become a “customer for life” for the pharmaceutical industry: the addition of the vaccine to the pediatric vaccination schedule; government reassurances that the supply will remain intact and a fabricated “epidemic” fresh in everyone’s mind.
Big Pharma wins big, without putting an additional line item in their marketing budget.
1. Robert Cohen. June 16, 2004. The Star-Ledger, Washington Bureau. “D.C. gearing up for a bio-defense.”
2. The White House. Press release. http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/usbudget/blueprint/bud05.html
3. Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003, Senate conference report, November 24, 2003. From speech by Sen. Judd Gregg (R ), N.H.
4. Ron Paul. http://www.lewrockwell.com/paul/paul143.html
MONEY IN POLITICS ALERT. May 17, 1999,Vol. 5, No. 17. “Bitter Pills: The Battle Over Prescription Drug Prices”