Did you see Bill Maher’s naive and unfunny op-ed in yesterday’s LA Times? Just incredulous. Check it out if you’ve got a strong stomach for stupidity and a few minutes to waste.
Here’s the letter I just sent in to the LA Times editorial page in response …
RE: “Pill Popper Nation,” April 27, 2006
To the editor:
So now Bill Maher is a health care expert? His opinion piece was so full of errors and vitriol that I could write a treatise. But I will limit my comments to two of his absurdities. First, he characterizes the Citizen”s Petition submitted by the Coalition for Healthcare Communications as from “the drug lobby.” Not only is this not true, but PhRMA, the industry’s trade association, doesn’t even support it. Maher writes that the petition wants to “get rid of the warnings in drug ads.” Also wrong. The petition (which I helped to draft) calls for more user-friendly warnings. After all, warnings that people don’t understand don’t help advance the public health. But what really got my dander up was Mr. Maher’s libelous and mean comment that all the FDA does is “protect the profits of pharmaceutical companies.” This is an unfair, unearned, and unjust attack on the 10,000 overworked, underpaid —and exceptionally devoted staff of the FDA. When it comes to health care, Maher is less.
Peter J. Pitts
Pitts is Director of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest and a former Associate Commissioner at the FDA