In light of the ancient advice to know your adversary, we present a profile of Rep. Bart Stupak (photo), the Michigan Democrat who's helping lead more than a half-dozen probes of Big Pharma and the FDA. The Wall Street Journal says Stupak's focus on the drug industry is just part of a quest to improve government oversight of consumer products. It may not feel that way to Pfizer (whose Lipitor ads have drawn scrutiny) or Sanofi-Aventis (investigated for a botched study of the antibiotic Ketek) or Schering-Plough and Merck (probed on testing and advertising the cholesterol med Vytorin). Or to the FDA, which gets a Stupak missive at least once a week these days.
Maybe that's because of Stupak's "bad cop" demeanor, which he trots out to great effect during Congressional hearings. Indeed, Stupak once was a state trooper. And even his across-the-aisle colleagues commend his "bulldog approach to things."
Pharma isn't so complimentary, of course. In NJ Biz, PhRMA chief Billy Tauzin (photo) blamed the scrutiny on the fact that 2008 is an election year. And, he says, all this time spent investigating simply takes away from time spent developing and approving new products.