Nader uses pharma to assail offshore outsourcing

Long-time consumer advocate and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader singles out the pharma industry as he rails against the migration of manufacturing to Asia. And he advocates for more government oversight of outsourcing.

It's not entirely clear from his commentary in the political newsletter Counterpunch last weekend whether his chief complaint is with big business ("runaway corporate giants who exploit for profit the patriotic sensibilities of Americans, but decline to be held [to] any patriotic expectations or values") or poor regulation of outsourcing ("a blind spot that leaves room for supply disruptions, counterfeit medicines, even bioterrorism.") But either way, he pulls pharma industry examples to make his point(s).

For instance, with the closing in 2004 of a Bristol-Myers Squibb facility in East Syracuse, NY, drug companies no longer have a U.S. API production site for critical antibiotics and "dozens of other crucial medicines," Nader writes. "The drug industry always made lots of money [in the U.S.]. But the pharmaceutical companies want to make more so they have moved their production to Asia."

In addition, U.S. multinational drug companies and other corporate giants are responsible, with former President Bill Clinton, for today's major international trade agreements. "They created the very globalized structure that they now claim they are beholden to in order to meet the global competition."

- here's the column