‘Culture of Corruption’: RFK Jr. Calls Out FDA After Lawsuit

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. | Image by Mario Tama/Getty Images

On a recent pit stop in Dallas last week, independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. took the opportunity to highlight a key component of his campaign platform: ending corporate capture.

“‘Corporate capture’ is a phenomenon where private industry uses its political influence to take control of the decision-making apparatus of the state, such as regulatory agencies, law enforcement entities, and legislatures,” according to the Center for Constitutional Rights.

When asked about his views on a recent Texas lawsuit against one of the major health agencies regarding the use of ivermectin, a prescription anti-parasitic medication, Kennedy called out the nation’s top federal health agencies for pandering to the industries they purportedly regulate.

“All three of the principal health agencies [CDC, NIH, FDA] suffer from agency capture,” Kennedy said. “I would say 50% of the FDA’s budget is from pharmaceutical companies. NIH scientists are allowed to collect royalties on drugs that they regulate –– which is clearly a conflict of interest. CDC … has devolved into an agency that primarily promotes the mercantile interests of the pharmaceutical companies.”

Kennedy then followed up with what he would do if elected president.

“I have litigated against all of these agencies, and I know the individuals in the agencies that need to be moved. … I understand the perverse incentives that put agency capture on steroids,” Kennedy said. “I will change those incentives and unravel the culture of corruption that now has turned these agencies against public health.”

A federal lawsuit Dr. Mary Bowden of Houston brought against the FDA serves as an example of alleged corporate capture in action. She sued the FDA because the agency led a campaign against ivermectin, which she found useful for treating her COVID-19 patients. Bowden has claimed she successfully treated over 5,500 COVID-19 patients without a single death using ivermectin and other treatments.

The FDA’s campaign included social media posts that read “You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it” and linked to an article titled “Why You Should Not Take Ivermectin to Treat or Prevent COVID-19.” It also included efforts to prevent pharmacies from dispensing ivermectin and insurers from covering its costs, despite the fact the FDA approved it for human use back in 1987 and doctors commonly use medications for “off-label” purposes.

The lawsuit was recently settled after two years of legal back and forth when the FDA agreed to remove the misleading social media posts that gave the impression doctors could not legally prescribe ivermectin. The federal district court dismissed the case “with prejudice” after the settlement, meaning it cannot be brought again, and the agency has 21 days to delete related posts on X, LinkedIn, and Facebook, The Texan reported.

“As part of an orchestrated effort to promote the mRNA shots, the FDA intentionally misled the public about a safe alternative to the COVID shots, casting ivermectin as a medication only allowed for horses,” Bowden told DX.

“Their propaganda campaign was an unprecedented intrusion into the doctor-patient relationship, and the goal of our lawsuit was to have them remove the blatant misinformation and set a precedent to prevent this from happening again. The timing of their PR campaign aligned with the government’s effort to get a shot in every arm and suggests they were bowing to Big Pharma rather than merely trying to educate the public,” she added.

In a separate exchange with Kennedy prior to his keynote address at EarthX, an environmentalist conference that was held in Dallas last week, DX asked the presidential aspirant about cancer-causing chemicals allegedly accumulating in Texas drinking water. Kennedy was asked about glyphosate, an herbicide in RoundUp that has become the subject of multi-billion-dollar class actions against the manufacturer.

When asked what he would do as president to keep Texas waters clean of carcinogenic chemicals, he pointed to major reform at the health agencies, again focusing on the NIH.

“The [National Institute of Health], because it is captured by the chemical industry, does not do the kind of studies [and] does not require the kind of studies that need to be done to determine the safety of these products –– and because of that, the manufacturers get to keep poisoning people and animals, etc., without any consequences,” he said.

“I am going to shift NIH’s priorities to do those studies,” he added. “I cannot tell you that we are going to ban every bad chemical, but I can put enough science out there that the lawyers can now litigate against the chemical company and let the market shut down that chemical very quickly.”

A point about free markets foreshadowed Kennedy’s address.

“True free markets promote efficiency, they eliminate waste, and pollution is waste,” he said. However, Kennedy did not rest his case on this point.

He elaborated, denouncing programs that he saw as direct or indirect subsidies that distorted the free market. These included manufacturers receiving permits to dump pollutants in drinking water, regulations protecting companies from liability for unsafe products, the flattening of historic American mountain ranges for coal extraction, and government agencies purportedly refusing to publish studies they find “inconvenient” for polluting industries. He concluded that without these supports, fossil fuels could not compete against renewable energy.

Both Kennedy and Bowden have been subject to numerous legal disputes because of their bucking of governmental orthodoxies.

Although Kennedy has spent roughly 40 years as an environmental and consumer protection lawyer, he was recently party to a lawsuit currently before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals that posed a constitutional question. Plaintiffs in Kennedy v. Biden alleged that he and others had been unlawfully censored when the White House and other executive agencies pressured social media companies to remove, delete, or de-amplify posts or accounts critical of various governmental COVID-related actions. The district court found for the plaintiffs and issued an injunction against the White House and others.

The Texas Medical Board filed charges against Bowden, alleging, among other things, that she violated standards of care by prescribing ivermectin for a patient with whom she did not have a prior physician-patient relationship and without conducting a physical examination.

Similarly, Houston Methodist Hospital suspended Bowden’s privileges when it became aware she planned to treat unvaccinated patients at her private practice, although she told DX she “never set foot in that hospital or treated patients.” She also stated that she never worked for that hospital.

These are points she highlights, “because I was not a source of revenue to them and was essentially expendable … their PR campaign against me was not done to protect patients and I did not violate any sort of employment agreement by speaking publicly about COVID.”

Despite the challenges they have faced, both Kennedy and Bowden have become popular figures in the post-COVID era. Bowden was recently celebrated at the Conservative Leader Awards organized by Texas Scorecard. In this ceremony, Bowden was given a saber as an award for her fight against what some believed to be government overreach during the pandemic.

Likewise, Kennedy has increased his public profile by making a run on news media platforms like the Joe Rogan Experience podcast. Gallup polls have shown he has the only net positive favorability rating (52%) of any candidate in the race. The nephew of President John F. Kennedy and son of slain presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy announced at EarthX that he has more than enough signatures to face President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump on the Texas general election ballot in November.

Note: This article was updated on May 8, 2024, at 10:20 a.m. to include additional information.

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