A two-part series by the Associated Press and the Center for Public Integrity investigated the influence of pharmaceutical companies on state and federal policies regarding opioids, the powerful painkillers that have claimed the lives of 165,000 people in the U.S. since 2000. Reporters tracked proposed laws on the subject and analyzed data on how the companies and their allies deployed lobbyists and contributed to political campaigns.
During the investigation and subsequent subsequent collapse of the Coca-Cola Global Energy Balance Network, the New York Times and Associated Press discovered that prominent university professors working on obesity issues had been funded by The Coca-Cola Company. This is not just a public health scandal. It is a journalistic one as well, writes Gary Ruskin on Alternet.
Associated Press reports that at a time of record auto recalls, safety advocates say the Republican-run Congress is snubbing their agenda and taking sides with the auto and trucking industries in favor of legislation that could worsen matters. For example, there’s no increase in the maximum fine of $35 million per violation that can be levied against automakers who don’t report safety defects and no increase in money for NHTSA to hire more staff to investigate potential safety defects and oversee automakers.