The Boston Globe and Grassley Smear It Up

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  • 06/12/2006

I have been stewing about this drive by reporting or smear for a couple of days….This from an article in the Boston Globe, a piece on Chuck Grassley entitled “Watching the Watchdog” which recounts the various safety molehills Grassley has made mountains out of. He is never asked, in reference to his grave concern about the FDA being too cozy with industry, why it is perfectly kosher for the chairman of the Finance committee to have an FDA employee in his office, on his staff doing his bidding for free free at taxpayer expense when the guy should be at his desk at Rockville or White Oak.

But that is not the only thing: Grassley implies that the drug industry tried to whack one his staffers because of his heroic work on drug safety. This is a serious charge and the way it is laid out makes it seem that drug safety was the reason she was attacked: “

Grassley also has reason to be concerned about his staff’s well-being. Last November, his chief investigator, Emilia DiSanto , was attacked outside of her suburban Virginia home. The assailant, dressed in black, clubbed her with what appeared to be a baseball bat. The FBI and Capitol Police are still investigating and no arrests have been made. Grassley suspects DiSanto was targeted because of her work on drug safety and other matters.

“Unless the guy was a psychopath, it doesn’t seem to me like it was random,” he said. “If they had knocked her out with the first hit, she’d be dead. She was able to just survive and fight back, and the guy got scared and ran off.”

“She’s OK,” he added, “but, obviously, we [will] live with this for a long, long, long time.”

For the record, over the last year the Senate Finance Committee has scrutinized healthcare fraud, organ-donation procedures used by hospitals, drug-safety matters and the use of nonprofit groups related to former lobbyist Jack Abramoff. That still doesn’t mean there is any connection but in the context of the article it seems that drug safety work was the trigger for the attempted hit when in fact there could have been any number of forces. Why was this subject even introduced? To make Grassley into some sort of crusader? To smear the drug industry by association. Shouldn’t such an allegation have some supporting evidence instead of just hanging out there like some spitball? Both Grassley and the Globe should keep their suspicions to themselves. Enough for now. I have to take a shower.


Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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