Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Debate *facts*

From the second question in this debate:

SCHIEFFER: Flu kills thousands of people every year. Suddenly we find ourselves with a severe shortage of flu vaccine. How did that happen?

BUSH: Bob, we relied upon a company out of England to provide about half of the flu vaccines for the United States citizen, and it turned out that the vaccine they were producing was contaminated. And so we took the right action and didn't allow contaminated medicine into our country.

OK, that's a great response. Except it's completely wrong. Now it's true that the factory that was producing the vaccine was in the UK, but the company is based in California. So it wasn't really "a company out of England" that was producing the vaccine, but an American one. That's like saying Intel is "a company out of Ireland" because the have a fab in Dublin.

Secondly, Dubya says that "we took action" and "didn't allow contaminated medicine into the country." Again, it wasn't our fearless FDA agents inspecting the factory that came up with the contamination problems that it shut down, it was the Brits! It was Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency of Great Britian to take the action that shut down the factory.

According to the NY Times:

Even though bacterial contamination was first reported more than a month ago at a British flu vaccine factory, the Food and Drug Administration relied solely on the factory's owner for information on whether the problems were being resolved...

So the F.D.A. was caught by surprise when the British agency suspended the factory's license on Oct. 5, depriving the United States of nearly half the 100 million flu shots federal authorities expected to be used this winter.

I don't know why this one is affecting me more than the other three debates, but I'm so mad right now, I could just spit.

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