Thursday 4th of June 2020

at least, aussie post, one of the other sponsors, is still owned by the government, though tanking...

pollie pedal


Fifeld said Pollie Pedal was run with the assistance of and benefit of Carers Australia which is a key peak organisation in his portfolio.

“While the pedallers cycled, I used the event as a backdrop in my role as the minister for disability, ageing and carers to meet people with disability, carers and older Australians as well as with the groups that support them,” he said.

“My travel was for the important portfolio business of meeting carers, older Australians and people with disability and their families in regions that don’t always have the same opportunity as metropolitan areas to meet with and be heard by their minister.”

Coulton was also contacted for comment.

Guardian Australia found no records of MPs from other parties who claimed expenses for taking part in the event.

Gus finds that there is a big conflict of interest for the pollie pedallists when the charitable event is sponsored in part by a big pharmaceutical company that benefits from Medicare rebates and so forth. AMGEN is also the manufacturer of the "controversial" EPO drug...

Meanwhile Australia Post, one of the major sponsors of Pollie Pedal, is tanking and sacking staff...:

Critics of Australia Post's decision to sack 900 administration staff are questioning the multi-million-dollar salary awarded to the company's managing director Ahmed Fahour.

Mr Fahour - a former CEO of NAB and Citigroup - was paid $4.8 million last year as chief executive officer and managing director of Australia Post, which is 100 per cent Government-owned.

In contrast, the head of the US Postal Service was paid $550,000 in 2013, despite running a company with 19 times more staff and 11 times the revenue.

The head of France's postal service, La Poste, was paid $1.06 million for running a service with 268,000 employees.








2012. Illegal marketing practices. The Los Angeles Times reported on December 18, 2012, that AMGEN pled guilty and agreed to pay $150 million in criminal penalty and $612 million to resolve 11 related whistleblower complaints. Federal prosecutors accused the company of pursuing profits while putting patients at risk.[13] Larry Husten, a contributor at elaborates on AMGEN's illegal marketing practices in this case, namely that the "government accused Amgen of marketing Aranesp for indications not approved by the FDA and other illegal marketing practices".[14] One of the drugs mentioned in the lawsuit had sales of $492 million in the third quarter of 2012, down 17% from the same quarter the previous year due to "reimbursement problems and label changes".[15]
2012. Amgen paid $762 million after pleading guilty to criminal charges of improper promotion and sale of misbranded drugs.[16]
2013. Lawmakers inserted text into the fiscal cliff bill that will allow the drugmaker to sell a class of drugs that includes Sensipar without government controls for an additional two years. The New York Times estimated that the paragraph in the fiscal cliff bill will cost taxpayers an estimated $500 million[17] but other assessments concluded that the change would protect seniors in rural areas and reduce overall Medicare spending.[18][19]
Revenue Increase US$ 20.063 billion (2014) [1]
Operating income  Increase US$ 6.191 billion (2014)[1]
Net income Increase US$ 5.158 billion (2014)[1]
Total assets Increase US$ 69.009 billion (2014)[1]
Total equity Increase US$ 25.778 billion (2014)[1]
Number of employees   17,900 (December 2014)[1]
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Los Angeles Times
December 18, 2012

Amgen agreed Tuesday to pay a $150-million criminal penalty and $612 million to resolve 11 related whistle-blower complaints. Ten of the complaints remain under seal until the court accepts the settlement.

One of the key whistle-blower complaints that led to the settlement involved a former Aranesp product manager, Kassie Westmoreland, who worked at Amgen from 2002 to 2005. She filed suit against Amgen under seal in 2006, alleging that Amgen gave "liquid kickbacks" to doctors, among other inducements.

Her suit charged that Amgen overfilled vials of Aranesp to supply doctors with extra medicine at no charge. She alleged the company then encouraged doctors to bill Medicare and private insurers for this surplus amount, reaping them extra profit. Amgen pursued this strategy to take business away from Procrit, a popular anemia drug sold by Johnson & Johnson, according to the suit.

The Westmoreland case cited internal spreadsheets used by Amgen sales representatives to allegedly show doctors how much more money they could make from the overfills.

"Amgen provided extra product in the Aranesp vials as a liquid kickback that doctors could then cash in with federal and state governments through Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements," said Charles Kester, a Calabasas attorney who represents Westmoreland along with law firms in Boston and Washington, D.C. "Amgen is being held to account in a serious way for its choices to market this drug unlawfully."

Westmoreland is still pursuing separate claims against Amgen for retaliation and wrongful termination. She stands to receive some portion of the Amgen settlement under federallawfor whistle-blowers.

Amgen's shares fell 21 cents to $89.29 in trading Tuesday.

The company's case adds to a string of major settlements the federal government has secured from pharmaceutical giants. In July, GlaxoSmithKline agreed to plead guilty to federal charges and pay $3 billion in the largest healthcare-fraud settlement in U.S. history


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Amgen the company that manufactures Epogen, otherwise known as EPO is to scale down and eventually stop production of the drug over the next twelve months.

Epogen is a legitimate medical treatment that increases the red blood cells in patients with certain cancers and kidney disease.

Used illegally by pro cyclists and other athletes, it also increase red blood cells, thereby carrying more oxygen to the muscles, resulting in a huge boost in performance.

I have always found it interesting and fascinating that Amgen sponsors the Tour of California professional bike race each year.

Is this a mere coincidence? At what board meeting did someone suggest that a company that makes medication for very sick people would benefit, and boost sales by sponsoring a professional bike race?

Amgen, based in Longmont, California is shutting down production of Epogen because of a steady decrease in sales over recent years. Figures went from 2.6 billion in 2009, to 2.5 billion in 2010, to 2 billion in 2011. (Note that is Billion with a “B.”) The decline in sales is still falling with current quarterly earnings down 3% on last year’s sales.

I am not speculating as to why Amgen’s sale of Epogen is declining, I am simply asking why? Are there less sick people needing the drug, because that is not how patterns in a population’s health usually go. There may be fluctuations up and down from one year to the next, but not usually a steady decline.

Is it yet another coincidence that sales have declined since 2009, over the same period that professional cycling started to clean up its act? And is it possible that illegal sales of EPO could run into Billions with a “B?”

These are simply questions I am asking. I do not have the time or resources to follow up on this story. But it would be interesting to go into Amgen’s financial records and follow the money trail, and find out where all that Epogen went.


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The rise and fall of a billion-dollar drug

Amgen and Johnson & Johnson earned billions on the trio of anemia drugs Epogen, Procrit and Aranesp since their introduction in 1989. But over time, an understanding of their risks has grown, as have doubts about their effectiveness. Amgen says it acted quickly and responsibly as its understanding of the drugs evolved. (Read related story.)


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Note: Gus has nothing against a firm that may produce good medicine. But the beef here is that government business, whether in government or outside government should not be sponsored by Private Companies — especially when they have been found guilty of fiddles. (Considering that our Turdy government is chasing the appearance of a"non-convicted terrorist" on Q&A, I smell a lot of hypocritical convenient sulphur).

That the pollie pedallists would not charge the government for expenses, the case might be less clear cut and become their "personal affairs".

But as admitted by some government "official", a minister might often go and and visit a hospital for five minutes, then go to a boozy private function, including a fund-raiser for his/her party and them claim expenses from the government "because they had visited the hospital"... In a simple word: stink.



pedal and windmill power...

Thus stage two began with Dennis arrayed in gold and was raced across this flattest of country for 166 kilometres, in more or less the longest sprint ever held in cycling. The highest point on the course was six metres above sea level and, toward the latter part of the journey, the riders were cycling below sea level behind the famous dikes of Holland.

Now Tony Abbott is famously a keen cyclist and so I wondered, as I watched, if he was in his turn watching on the Lodge’s flat screen TV. I certainly hoped so, because as the race wound on, it seemed that every second shot of the race had a wind turbine or wind mill in the background.

The Netherlands is a world leader in the fight against climate change — indeed, recently, an environmentally concerned group sued the Dutch government for not doing enough to combat climate change and keep the populace safe from the effects of sea level rise. 

However, the Dutch are clearly doing a million times more than our backwards, neanderthal government and wind turbines everywhere was clear evidence of this.

It gave me the greatest of pleasure to wonder if this was grinding the eyes out of our idiot prime minister’s head as he watched, given his recent bizarre attacks on wind turbines here in Australia.,7907


"The Tour de France in Holland... " as my neighbours calls it...

ipso: tax evasion is good for the economy...


The drug industry has been labelled "passive aggressive" after responding to tough questions over its use of tax minimisation by warning paying more tax would damage the economy.

The warning was contained in a "supplementary submission" to the Senate tax avoidance inquiry, following a public hearing a fortnight ago that saw nine drug bosses subjected to intensive scrutiny of their companies' financial affairs.

The inquiry heard drug companies pay taxes of around $85 million on income of around $8 billion, made possible through transfer pricing schemes with overseas branches.

The chief executives were accused of being evasive and immoral after dodging questions about the true value of the drugs they imported and their aggressive use of transfer pricing.

"There were at the hearings, some perhaps misconceptions and misunderstandings," Medicines Australia chief executive Tim James said.

The submission warns against an erosion of public confidence in the tax system through simplistic descriptions of complex financial arrangements.

"Any move to unilaterally and adversely change tax practices ... could have a very detrimental effect on the level of investment and activity in Australia," Mr James told the ABC.

Independent senator Nick Xenophon, who sits on the Senate committee conducting the inquiry, is calling the submission a "veiled threat".

"It does seem to be a pretty passive aggressive response," he told the ABC.

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Read from top...


cost of pharma...


A US drug company that faced a backlash after raising the price of a drug used by Aids patients by over 5,000% has said it will lower the price.

Martin Shkreli, the head of Turing Pharmaceuticals, told US media he would drop the price following the outcry, but did not say by how much.

Turing Pharmaceuticals acquired the rights to Daraprim in August.

It then raised the cost of the drug, which treats a parasitic infection, from $13.50 (£8.70) to $750.

Amid criticism from medical groups - one called the cost "unjustifiable" - Mr Shkreli on Monday defended the increase, saying the profits would help research new treatments.



The altruism of profiteering has no bounds... but it still needs an image of someone pedalling for it... Is Tony going to still pushbike for Pharma? Or have we lost the connection with big Pharma? Should we shoot it like a duck? Where is the "middle" ground?


tomorrow 's bitter pill...


There is justice.

Revenge is also moving swiftly in the direction of Shkreli. Fifteen months ago, he paid $US55 million for Turing Pharmaceuticals AG, whose primary asset was Daraprim. Now the price he paid has become questionable.

On Tuesday night, one of the largest medical service providers in the United States, Express Scripts, announced it was offering an alternative drug to Daraprim for just $US1.

Express Scripts is offering a drug from Imprimis Pharmaceuticals with the same qualities as Daraprim. Patients will now have an alternative: $750 for a pill of Daraprim, or $1 for a capsule from Imprimis.

Express Scripts is a low-cost supplier which negotiates with medical insurance companies and drug makers to provide medicines directly to consumers at low cost.

It was able to short-circuit the Shkreli price rocket by forming a partnership with Imprimis, a compounding pharmacy. Whereas big drug companies develop new drugs which are then patent protected, compounding pharmacies buy compounds approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and then formulate them to compete with patented drugs.

(In this case, Imprimis combined pyrimethamine, the active element in Daraprim, with leucovorin, a folic acid recommended by the FDA for treating toxoplasmosis.)

Had Shkreli not made his product so expensive, they probably would not have bothered.


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Still... The market forces are often ignorant of the long term future. The market forces work on a day to day basis and the futures work on the next 12 months. Beyond this framework, market forces are in the dark.


This is the problem with Global Warming. Here we have a bitter pill to take NOW because sickness will come in 30, 50, 100 years time. The timeframe is elastic but the sickness will be SEVERE, on a planetary scale, regardless. The bitter pill is to stop burning fossil fuels. It should be easy, but since the industrial revolution, humanity has been relying 98 per cent of fossil fuels. We have to make a 180 degree turn around on the way we provide for our comfort. Some of the fossil fuel suppliers are crying foul and are doing everything they can to prevent their business from going under. Who can blame them? 


BUt the reality is that within a generation, possibly less, say 2032, climatic conditions will become severely compromised. The early signs are here already, but the fossil fuel merchants are using all the tricks in the book and all the spruikers at their disposal to twist the scientific analysis. From Lord Monckton to Andrew Bolt and Alan Jones, we have a strong push to misinform a confused public. 

The simple line we need to know, should we not be scientific literate, is: GLOBAL WARMING IS REAL. FOSSIL FUEL BURNING IS RESPONSIBLE.

Should we want to know more: the EXTRA CO2 from burning fossil fuels is the main culprit. 

Should you want to know more, please read all the articles by Gus Leonisky on this site, including:



Why 2032?

Not because

A big asteroid sailed past Earth last month, and astronomers haven't yet totally excluded the possibility that it'll hit us when it comes around in 2032. If the past is any guide, we won't have to worry about asteroid 2013 TV135 — but it's a reminder that we'll have to fend off a killer space rock one of these days.


Ukrainian astronomers discovered 2013 TV135 just 10 days ago, well after the asteroid had its close encounter with Earth on Sept. 16. Actually, it wasn't all that close: The distance was 4.2 million miles (6.7 million kilometers), or about 17 times as far away as the moon. But based on the rough estimates of its orbital path, experts rated its chances of colliding with Earth during a follow-up encounter in 2032 at 1 in 63,000.

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BUT BECAUSE: unlike the case of an encounter with an asteroid, the odds of creating climatic havoc on the planet are even/steven see: 2025 before 2032


There... I am going to take the plunge and tell it like I see it, if we want to tackle climate change before we loose our pants by 2032.

By 2025:

1) ground transport to be "public" transport. Private "cars" to use renewable (possibly solar) energy only or pedal power. Creation of graveyards or mothball-grounds for fossil-fuel driven cars, SUVs  and heavy trucks(recyling: too warming costly)

2) air travel to be reduced to "essential" minimum. Air Ambulances, firemen, etc. Politicians allowed 3 local trips a year — no overseas junkets. Reduction of numbers of politicians.

3) tourism to be fully restructured — transformed into a new format in which less is more, local visit on foot or bicycle, or virtual. No exception.

4) heavy industries to be scaled down to less than 15 per cent of present activity.

5) heavy transport reduced to "essentials' only, including foodstuff.

6) employment to be sustained by light industries, using renewable energy, producing mostly renewable energy units.

7) reduction of consumerism to bare minimum. "Essentials" only. Heavy penalties for failure to comply to strict new code

8) human population on Earth to be arrested below 7 billions then decreased to below 5 billions by natural attrition.

9) preservation of ALL forest PRESENTLY (2009) existing. Replanting new forests with local indigenous species. minimisation of forest fires by careful watch and naturally hastened recycling of forest litter into soil.

10) electronic means used for business communications (conferencing). No travel allowed.

11) All electricity used in homes to be from personal renewable-energy units.

12) gas use limited to 1 hour per household, for cooking only, daily. (gas fire nore efficient that wood fire)

13) sea transport making use of wind to 70 per cent of energy requirement. Highly controlled and heavily reduced traffic.

14) apart from reforestation, efficient alternatives for carbon dioxide capture to be put in place.

15) money market being public use only. Total restructuring of fairer allocation of social means.

16) ban of genetically modified food stuffs.

17) food production to be more efficient, more local, less industrialised, employing "more" hands.

18) entertainment to be more local and public

19) armies to be reduced by 80 per cent across the board.

20) New political institutions set up for control and administration, relying mostly on the good will of world citizens.


All this would stablise CO2 emissions below those of 1930, possibly arresting the rise of temperature at about 2 degrees C above average for years to come till 2100. Although a rise of 2 degree C will have devastating efects, the effects wont be 'catastrophic". If we don't follow these 20 points (more could be added), a rise of at least 6 degree C beyond 2100 is inevitable. That would be "catastrophic" on a scale unimagined. Be prepared.


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