December 02, 2005

Secrecy stinks

Why do the Republicans hate the public? They want to create a new government agency which will be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act and the Federal Advisory Committee Act.

The proposed Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Agency, or BARDA, would be exempt from long-standing open records and meetings laws that apply to most government departments, according to legislation approved Oct. 18 by the Senate health committee.

Those exemptions would streamline the development process, safeguard national security and protect the proprietary interests of drug companies, say Republican backers of the bill. The legislation also proposes giving manufacturers immunity from liability in exchange for their participation in the public-private effort.


The agency would provide the funding for development of treatments and vaccines to protect the United States from natural pandemics as well as chemical, biological and radiological agents.

This is bad on its face, but it's even more stupid when you consider that scientific data is disseminated through publication in medical journals. Limiting that means only the scientists working at the agency would be able to study results from tests, which would mean that the knowledge gained would remain cloistered at BARDA. That's way too insular.

Also notice that as usual the Republicans want to immunize their campaign contributors from possible lawsuits. Don't they ever get tired of this game?

(Reminded of this by Suburban Guerilla.)

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Lynn Vasquez

Posted by: Lynn Vasquez at December 2, 2005 04:59 PM