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Gas Prices, Farm Subsidies and Vioxx Lawsuits

Daily Update

Title

Gas Prices, Farm Subsidies and Vioxx Lawsuits

Oil company executives are grilled on high gas prices by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Congress prepares to override President Bush’s veto of the $307 billion farm bill.

Drug maker Merck agrees to pay $58 million to settle a lawsuit over alleged deceptive marketing of the painkiller Vioxx.

1. CONSUMER

Oil company executives are grilled on high gas prices by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

CEI Expert Available to Comment: Senior Fellows Iain Murray and Eli Lehrer on the problems with the Senate’s proposed solution to high energy prices:

“The current energy crisis needs to be addressed by increasing the supply of energy worldwide. Instead, the proposed bill relies on punishment of energy suppliers who are themselves constrained by legislation in what they can do to increase supply. At a time when the nation is facing massively increased energy costs and income and credit availability are being squeezed, American citizens deserve better from their representatives in Congress.”

 

2. FOOD

Congress prepares to override President Bush’s veto of the $307 billion farm bill.

CEI Expert Available to Comment: Adjunct Analyst Fran Smith on the politics behind the bill:

“The Farm Bill simply paid off every special interest. Farmers got their direct payments, their counter-cyclical payments, their price support loan amounts, their disaster funds, etc. Some producers who weren’t subsidized before – the fruit, vegetable, and nut producers – got some gobs of R&D money that opens the door to future subsidies. The bill includes what was lauded as the “first-ever livestock title,” another group that wasn’t subsidized before.”

 

3. HEALTH

Drug maker Merck agrees to pay $58 million to settle a lawsuit over alleged deceptive marketing of the painkiller Vioxx.

CEI Expert Available to Comment: Senior Fellow Gregory Conko on the therapeutic advantages of drugs like Vioxx:

“…it’s worth reviewing the reason why Vioxx was hailed as a therapeutic breakthrough when the FDA approved it in 1999. Used primarily as an arthritis treatment, Vioxx was the first in a class of drugs known as cox-2 inhibitors that have begun to displace conventional anti-inflammation drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen in the treatment of chronic pain. Though we now know that cox-2 drugs do raise slightly the background risk of cardiac events, daily use of conventional anti-inflammation drugs is known to cause a much bigger problem: a fairly high risk of stomach and intestinal bleeding and gastric ulcers. Daily use of drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen hospitalizes an estimated 100,000 Americans every year and kills more than 16,000.”

 

Blog feature: For more news and analysis, updated throughout the day, visit CEI’s blog, Open Market.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

To contact a CEI expert for comment or interviews, please call the CEI communications department at 202-331-2273 or email to pr@cei.org.