I’m on vacation this week, but after sitting through “60 Minutes” Sunday night, I felt compelled to type a bunch of words destined to be lost in the twisted din of daily politics in the Trump Era. These days, scandal is the natural state of the nation. So much is going wrong, it’s hard to focus on any one aspect of Our National Disaster.
Thank God for 60 Minutes and the Washington Post. The two journalism institutions teamed up to reveal the road map drug manufacturers and distributors followed to enslave millions of Americans to prescription pain medication. U.S. Rep. Tom Marino led the congressional charge to neuter the DEA for the benefit of Big Pharma.The Republican from the 10th District of Pennsylvania sponsored a bill that became a law that essentially absolves corporate drug dealers of any legal responsibility for creating junkies for profit.
Local newspapers have been reporting on the opioid epidemic for years. The sudden attention of the National Media is as welcome as it is tardy. Way back in May, I wrote about the singular cynicism of President Trump‘s plan to appoint U.S. Rep. Tom Marino national drug czar:
In Congress,,Marino has cultivated a hard-ass reputation on drug policy, all while taking more than $150,000 in contributions from pharmaceutical companies, according to data at Opensecrets.org. He also supported a bill that Drug Enforcement Administration officials said was designed to protect drugmakers who continue to reap astronomical profits from the opioid epidemic.
Marino’s naked favors to Big Pharma were illuminated on the national stage by the 60 Minutes/Washington Post report. Marino built his congressional career on being an “independent Republican” who would never accept the yoke of special interests. In May, Marino passed on the drug czar appointment to care for his ailing mother.
Six months later, Marino remains Trump’s pick for the job, and Big Pharma’s dream drug czar.