In February 2007, Texas Governor Rick Perry bypassed the legislature, and used an executive order to require all girls to receive a vaccine against the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus, which can cause cervical cancer. He also subsidized the drug through Medicaid and other channels.
In a storyline I would have made up were I writing a novel about this, Perry's former chief of staff was a lobbyist for the drug company that crafted the policy.
Here's the Post's report:
Merck could generate billions in sales if Gardasil _ at $360 for the three-shot regimen _ were made mandatory across the country. Most insurance companies now cover the vaccine, which has been shown to have no serious side effects.
The New Jersey-based drug company is bankrolling efforts to pass state laws across the country mandating Gardasil for girls as young as 11 or 12. It doubled its lobbying budget in Texas and has funneled money through Women in Government, an advocacy group made up of female state legislators around the country.
Perry has ties to Merck and Women in Government. One of the drug company's three lobbyists in Texas is Mike Toomey, Perry's former chief of staff. His current chief of staff's mother-in-law, Texas Republican state Rep. Dianne White Delisi, is a state director for Women in Government.
So, as a conservative libertarian sensitive to the revolving door and Big Business using Big Government for profit, I have a hard time getting over this one. I expect I'll write more about Perry and Gardasil.
But today, I'll note a recent blow Perry has struck against regulatory robbery -- signing the "Bakers Bill," which allows people to sell stuff they cook in their home.
Governor Perry signed the "Bakers Bill", allowing bakers like Fazier to sell their non-perishable goodies.
"If you had a kitchen under the same roof where people slept, you were not allowed to sell your food but now this removes this restriction for us," says Frazier.
The bill comes with a couple restrictions, like the maximum that they can make and where they sell their treats, but most of it is for the consumer's safety.
Frazier says, "They can call the health department and say, I just wanted to check, to see if you have any complaints about mama steph and they could tell you if there were anything."
Guess who's unhappy? Who's unhappy whenever government deregulates? The incumbent businesses that enjoyed the protection from competition. Check out the comments on this message board for professional chefs:
I worry that there is little regulation on insurance, santiation etc... very foggy.
What will this do to the mom and pop bakery? Small businesses?
What happens when one of these little house bakers makes people sick with a foodborne illness?
Do they loose their house, do they loose their coverage or do they go to jail?....
My point is that there are laws governing food production that protect people as far as they can.
From proper labeling, to sanitation, to quality of equipment-people have died from food born illnesses to mislableing to neglagence.
I can't bring my pets to my restaurant, why should I be able to bake out of my home with my pets?
I don't bake out of my home because the risk is too great if something happened to a client. (broken tooth to food poisoning.) It's too big a risk for me, and I have training and experience....
I do not think people should be able to ""Make ends meet"" at the expense of the general publics health..
All this is creating is a field day for ambulance chasing attorneys..
Household kitchens although appearing clean are sometimes not, example, water temp,drying pans and pots with towls, stacking of pans ,pots and utensils, wearing of street clothes in kitchen, dogs or cats, and on and on. Some states would love this because they could charge for permits on a yearly basis and rake in some needed cash. If on a public referendum I would vote it down.
I can't even go into how wrong it is to have an unregulated, unsanitary, private home producing food -for sale to the public.
So, this doesn't counterbalance the Gardasil incident, but Perry deserves credit for standing up for regular people over entrenched interests.