More than half of Centers for Disease Control (CDC) staff go on to work for big pharma, a first-of-its-kind report has found.
The analysis found that, between 2004 and 2020, 54 percent of workers who left the agency for another job moved into the private health sector.
Researchers from the University of Southern California and Harvard University who published the report have called to expand federal ‘cooling off’ laws — which prohibit former government employees from immediately lobbying on behalf of private organizations.
They said the ‘revolving door’ between federal workers and private healthcare companies has made government agencies vulnerable to corruption.
The researchers found that 15 percent of HHS employees had been employed in private industry immediately prior to their appointment in the government (stock pic)
Currently, ex-employees must wait one year after leaving the CDC before ‘any communication to or appearance before any officer or employee of their former agency on behalf of anyone seeking official action.’
This was set up to prevent people from ‘switching sides’ on a matter they worked on during their government role.
But the new report says the laws don’t go far enough.
The researchers looked at the career histories of 766 people appointed to HHS between 2004 and 2020 who occupied political appointments, including agency heads, senior-level administrators and their aides.
They found that 15 percent had been employed in private industry immediately prior to their appointment in government.
Almost a third (32 percent) left their HHS role for industry.
Industry was the most common next destination after working at HHS, rather than other jobs in government, nonprofit and academia.
Republican presidents were more likely to appoint people directly from industry.
The authors said: ‘The mere existence of a revolving door is not surprising or necessarily problematic.’
Employees can get higher salaries in biopharmaceutical industries than in government jobs, and government regulators who previously worked in industries they are regulating might have helpful insights.
But Genevieve Kanter, study co-author and associate professor of public policy at the University of Southern California, said she was ‘really concerned’ about ‘whether the personnel flow might lead to biases in government decision making.’
She explained that current cooling-off laws tend to last no more than two years and are narrow in scope because they ‘do not cover much lobbying related to agency decision making, like regulations and drug authorizations — so they don’t necessarily deter that behavior.’
Ms Kanter added: ‘The direction one might go is to expand the cooling off laws. But that’s a blunt instrument for a lot of subtle things that might be going on in terms of the effects of the revolving door.’
The study was published in the journal Health Affairs.
In 2015, former Medicare chief Marilyn Tavenner was hired as the new CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) — a national trade organization of health insurance companies.
Ms Tavenner previously worked as the chief administrator at the Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services between 2013 and 2015.
Her appointment to AHIP in 2015 came just a few months after the health insurance industry also hired former Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz, a Pennsylvania Democrat, to head up Better Medicare Alliance — a research group that supports the private health insurance option Medicare Advantage.
Meanwhile, the former head of Eli Lilly between 2012 and 2017, Alex Azar, made the jump into government to serve as the HHS secretary from 2018 to 2021 under President Trump.
A 2012 investigation by Sunlight Foundation found that, on average, a chief of staff at Capitol Hill could increase their earnings by 40 percent by moving into the private sector.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk