Release of Michael Moore’s, Sicko is a week away and drug companies prepare to counter attack claims made in the film. They feel the American health care system has been unjustly characterized as ‘sick.’ One issue they have with the film is that Moore doesn’t pin down what works and what needs to be improved.
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, vice president Ken Johnson, feels that Moore’s film is a one-sided attack on the pharmaceutical industry and they want to be sure the American public hears their side. According to the watchdog group, SourceWatch, the pharmaceutical companies have funded such groups as the Manhattan Institute, Heritage Foundation, and Pacific Research Institute to get their viewpoint in front of the public and policy makers.
Just recently the Manhattan Institute made 4 health care scholars available on a conference call to 20 members of the press for comments on the health care industry. The president of the Galen Institute, Gracie-Marie Tuner, who spoke with reporters during the conference call said, “I don’t know how good he is a filmmaker, but he certainly is a master of hype.”
The Cato Institute has already swung into action to promote the pharmaceutical attack by hosting a breakfast symposium on Capitol hill where the attendees viewed several short films from the Moving Picture Institute that argue against Moore’s viewpoint.
What this writer wonders is how long the pharmaceutical industry expects the American public to keep believing that the U.S. health care system is the best available when we spend double per capita of any developed country and consistently rank near the bottom for health care? It has become an impossible pill to swallow.