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Drug Ads, Debit Card Fees and Labor Finances

Daily Update

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Drug Ads, Debit Card Fees and Labor Finances

The Food and Drug Administration moves to crack down on the advertising of prescription medicines for “off-label” uses.

Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) pushes for limits on debit card “swipe fees” as part of a financial overhaul bill.

Union boss Andy Stern leaves the Service Employees International Union amid staff infighting and mounting debt.

1. ENVIRONMENT

The Food and Drug Administration moves to crack down on the advertising of prescription medicines for “off-label” uses.

CEI Expert Available to Comment: Senior Fellow Gregory Conko on the legal fight over how far the FDA should be allowed to regulate.

“[Drug manufacturer Allergan] acknowledges that the FDA may forbid false or misleading claims but has petitioned the court to hold unconstitutional the FDA's near total ban on truthful and non-misleading information. A key precedent may be a landmark 2002 case involving advertising by pharmacists in which the U.S. Supreme Court concluded that the ‘First Amendment directs us to be especially skeptical of regulations that seek to keep people in the dark for what the government perceives to be their own good.’ Perhaps via the judiciary, society must balance safety with the right of patients and their physicians to make decisions about medical therapies.”

 

2. FINANCE

Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) pushes for limits on debit card “swipe fees” as part of the financial overhaul bill.

CEI Expert Available to Comment: Director of the Center for Investors and Entrepreneurs John Berlau on a better path to financial reform.

“If Congress really wanted to lower costs for the nations retailers, as well as consumers, it could scrutinize the cost of its own red tape from the laws it imposes as well as the new costs for retailers from the Senate financial bill itself. Many big and small merchants have legitimate concerns, for instance, that the new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection will subject them to costly bank-like regulations if they extend credit as a minor part of their business, such as in providing layaway plans.”

 

3. LABOR

Union boss Andy Stern leaves the Service Employees International Union amid staff infighting and heavy debt.

CEI Expert Available to Comment: Adjunct Analyst F. Vincent Vernuccio on the financial condition of SEIU as Stern exits.

“SEIU is $85 million in debt, down from its 2008 high of $102 million, and has been forced to lay off employees. Mr. Stern has led protests against Bank of America, calling for the firing of Chief Executive Ken Lewis. Yet the union owes $80 million to Bank of America and $5 million to Amalgamated Bank, which is owned by the rival union Unite-Here. SEIU's pensions are in even worse shape. Both of SEIU's two national pension plans, the SEIU National Industry Pension Fund and the Pension Plan for Employees of the SEIU, issued critical-status letters last year.”