Category Archives: Congress

Texas Gov. Perry deploys 1,000 National Guard troops to border

Months (actually years, since 2012) after illegal aliens began surging across the Mexico border into America’s southern states (at a rate of 35,000 a month into Texas), Governor Rick Perry is finally really doing something to stem the invasion.

Yesterday, July 21, 2014, stating that the federal government offers only “lip service” on border security, Perry announced that he is activating up to 1,000 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border  as a “force multiplier” to help the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) “combat the brutal Mexican drug cartels that are preying upon our communities.”

“I will not stand idly by while our citizens are under assault and little children from Central America are detained in squalor. We are too good of a country,” Perry said.

The National Guard troops could detain people if asked, Texas Adjutant General John Nichols said at the press conference with Perry, but they are planning to play a “referring and deterring” role by deterring cartels with their visible presence and referring any immigrants suspected of being illegally in the country to DPS.

Perry argued that the elevated response at the border by DPS personnel has already acted as a deterrent force and reduced apprehensions. That operation comes at a cost of $1.3 million per week. A state memo obtained by the McAllen Monitor, which first reported Perry’s plan to deploy the National Guard, indicates the new efforts will cost the state of Texas $12 million per month.

Perry said he expects the federal government to eventually reimburse the state of Texas for the costs it has incurred protecting the southern border.

CBS reports that White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said prior to Perry’s announcement that the Obama administration has not yet received the formal request from Perry to activate the troops, but he downplayed it as a merely a symbolic measure, “What we’re hopeful is that Governor Perry will not just take these kinds of steps that are generating the kind of headlines I suspect he intended, but will actually take the kinds of steps that will be constructive to solving the problem over the long term.”

Referring to the $3.7 billion in emergency appropriations the POS has requested from Congress, Earnest said, “To be specific that means that we hope that Governor Perry will support the supplemental appropriations request that this administration put forward a few weeks ago and that that Governor Perry will use his influence with congressional Republicans in Congress an urge them to stop blocking comprehensive bipartisan legislation in the House of Representatives.”

Blah. Blah. Blah.

Mouth of Sauron Joshua Earnest

To Joshua Earnest, the new Mouth of Sauron:

The United States Constitution recognizes America’s state National Guards or militias, and gives them vital roles to fill: “to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasion.” (Article I, Section 8, Clause 15).

State governors have the full authority to activate state National Guards, without having to issue a “formal request” to Washington, D.C.

In the end, however, Perry’s deployment of 1,000 Texan National Guard troops to the border is merely a symbolic act that will be entirely ineffectual in stemming the Invasion of the Illegals.

H/t FOTM’s swampygirl

~Eowyn

Sarah Palin Slams Holder For Racist Comments.

As usual Sister Sarah is doing the work of the little boys on the Hill. Not a one has the nerve to call Holder out so she does. What a bunch of wimps.

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 19 Jul 2014

Saturday in Denver at the Western Conservative Summit former Governor Sarah Palin (R-AK)  slammed Attorney General Eric Holder for his appearance on ABC’s “This Week” last Sunday when he accused Obama administration detractors of being motivated by race.

Palin slammed Holder, saying, “I don’t need lectures from Eric Holder.” Taunting him, she continued, “Not many cabinet members in U.S. history have been held in contempt of Congress.”

The Tea Party firebrand urged, “instead of shamelessly playing that race card,” he should look at the protests in black and latino communities about the resources going to the illegal immigrant children flooding across the U.S. Mexico border. 

Palin said, “That racism charge is a disgusting, false charge. Just because someone opposes a failed unjust agenda that makes them a racist, Mr. Attorney General?”

Follow Pam Key On Twitter @pamkeyNEN

http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-TV/2014/07/19/Palin-Slams-Eric-Holders-Disgusting-False-Racism-Charges

~Steve~

Obama admin wants $3.7 billion for illegals, but US troops in Afghanistan now gets only 2 hot meals a day

Dr. Eowyn:

H/t FOTM’s Miche

Originally posted on Consortium of Defense Analysts:

The Obama administration is spending $250 to $1,000 a day to house each of the illegal aliens from Central America “surging” across the Mexico borderinto the United States. That’s what Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Jeh Johnson told the U.S. Senate Budget Committee.

That’s why the Obama administration is requesting from Congress $3.7 BILLION in emergency funds for the border “surge” that began in 2012. The Daily Mail reports that only about 3% of the $3.7 billion would actually be used to strengthen border security, with the bulk of the requested funds going to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to care for the “unaccompanied children,” the majority of whom are males ages 15 to 17, according to the New York Times.

The Obama administration also awarded a $50 million contract to Baptist Child & Family Services (BCFS) to buy the Palm Aire…

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Senate Democrats’ bill will remove all restrictions on abortion – past, present & future

This is why, instead of Democrats, I call them Demonrats.

Various states of our disUnited States of America have been making progress on protecting the lives of the unborn. But if Senate Demonrats have their way, all that progress will be obliterated by one bill.

On Tuesday, July 15, 2014, Senate Demonrats held a hearing on S. 1696, a bill that wipes out virtually every pro-life law across the country, including state laws that came into play in Pennsylvania that held late-term abortion practitioner Kermit Gosnell accountable for killing babies who were born alive and killed during a gruesome late-term abortion procedure.

S. 1696 has the deceptive Orwellian title of the “Women’s Health Protection Act” even though it revokes protections for women and their unborn children. Instead, the bill would be far-reaching in how it would topple virtually every pro-life law passed in states across the country.

The bill has been heavily promoted by pro-abortion activist groups since its introduction last November, although it has been largely ignored by the mainstream news media. S. 1696 has 35 Senate cosponsors, all Demonrats, including 9 of the 10 Democrats on the Judiciary Committee. The chief sponsor of the bill is Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Ct.).

Richard Blumenthal

S. 1696 is an updated and expanded version of the old “Freedom of Choice Act” that was championed by Barack Obama when he was a senator. The new bill would invalidate nearly all existing state limitations on abortion, and prohibit states from adopting new limitations in the future, including various types of laws specifically upheld as constitutionally permissible by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Among the laws that the bill would nullify are:

  • Requirements to provide women seeking abortion with specific information on their unborn child and on alternatives to abortion.
  • Laws providing reflection periods (waiting periods).
  • Laws allowing medical professionals to opt out of providing abortions.
  • Laws limiting the performance of abortions to licensed physicians.
  • Bans on elective abortion after 20 weeks.
  • Meaningful limits on abortion after viability.
  • Bans on the use of abortion as a method of sex selection.
  • Invalidate most previously-enacted federal limits on abortion, including federal conscience protection laws and most, if not all, limits on government funding of abortion.

The above laws that would be nullified by the truly diabolical S. 1696 generally have broad public support in the states in which they are enacted, including support from substantial majorities of women.

During the Senate hearing, Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Committee, told lawmakers that the bill is a radical departure from laws that have helped stopped late-term abortions and helped hold abortion practitioners like Gosnell accountable:

“Dr. Kermit Gosnell of Philadelphia is only the most notorious recent example of a certain type of abortion provider who flourishes under the aura of political immunity generated by pro-abortion advocacy groups in some jurisdictions. There are many others who have demonstrated repeatedly that they should not be allowed anywhere near pregnant women or their unborn children, some of whom have been operating in multiple states for many years, shielded from real accountability by the timidity of state officials who are weary of offending the abortion industry and the political activist groups that fly cover for that industry.”

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins says his group opposes the bill for similar reasons:

“Senator Blumenthal’s bill is extreme and out of touch with the views of millions of Americans on both sides of the abortion debate. It is deeply troubling that the Senate Judiciary Committee would consider a measure that puts vulnerable women in greater danger by undermining clinic health standards that are grounded in common sense. The measure even revokes laws requiring abortionists to be licensed physicians and any restrictions on late-term abortions. These laws are vital to avoid a future Kermit Gosnell house of horror. It is my hope that the Senate reject this bill and instead work to protect unborn children that can feel excruciating pain from abortion, and pass the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, S. 1670, sponsored by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC).”

ACTION: Contact your senators and urge STRONG opposition to the bill.

Sources: Life News of July 14 and July 15, 2014

H/t FOTM’s Sig94

~Eowyn

Harry Reid Says Our Border Is Secure.

I Think Harry has been smoking good stuff. Nitwit.

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Durbin-Reid-Reuters (1)

Durbin-Reid-Reuters 

As tens of thousands of illegal aliens stream across our southern border, completely overwhelming border patrol and generating a humanitarian crisis, Nevada Senator and Democrat Majority Leader Harry Reid has a message for the nation: our border is completely secure.

 15 Jul 2014

Reid appeared at the Senate Democrats’ weekly policy lunch and told reporters, “The border is secure. [Sen.] Martin Heinrich talked to the caucus today. He’s a border state senator. He said he can say without any equivocation the border is secure.”

Senator Reid also claimed that there is no need to make any changes on how quickly illegals are deported. The Senator claimed that there is enough “leeway” in current laws to give the executive branch the tools to do what needs to be done.

Reid also dismissed a bipartisan bill proposed by Senate Republican John Cornyn and Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar, both from Texas, as “too broad.”

“From all the reports I’ve gotten, the answer for me is no, I won’t support it,” Reid claimed.

The Nevadan called the humanitarian crisis on the border a “narrow issue” and insisted that Obama’s request for 3.7 billion additional dollars for the border is the fix that Congress should be concerning itself with.

Reid isn’t the only Democrat to indulge this head-in-the-sand political position. Texas Democrat Sheila Jackson Lee was also heard saying that the border is “under control”despite the truth staring her in face.

Meanwhile, on this border that is perfectly secure, an illegal alien that was deported four other times after being convicted of the sexual assault of a 9-year-old girl was caught once again sneaking across the border.

Leaked intelligence for this border crisis also speaks directly against some of these Democrats’ claims that the reason for this wave of illegals is merely a rising rate of violence in Central America.

Rest Of Breitbart Story HERE!

~Steve~

Illegals bring pneumonia and swine flu to Calif-Texas Navy bases

Bill Gertz reports for the Washington Free Beacon, July 14, 2014, that health authorities at a Navy base in Southern California took steps last weekend to curtail an outbreak of pneumonia and swine flu among illegal immigrant children housed at the facility, according to U.S. officials.

Both diseases are contagious. According to the CDC, pneumonia is caused by bacteria or viruses and can be severe. The H1N1 virus is considered less dangerous and has been detected in the United States since the 2009 pandemic. The swine flu virus jumped from pigs to humans and can be fatal in some cases.

The outbreak of disease among several of the nearly 600 immigrant children at the Naval Base Ventura County, located north of Los Angeles, initially was thought to be caused by deadly bacterial streptococcal meningitis, according to one official close to the issue.

Naval Base Ventura CountyNaval Base Ventura County

The pneumonia cases and meningitis scare last weekend followed two cases of H1N1 swine flu among other child immigrants—one at the California base and another in Texas. The virus caused a global pandemic in 2009, but officials said it is considered less dangerous than the meningitis outbreak that began over the past weekend.

Naval officials, along with HHS and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) officials, sought to block the disease outbreak by quarantines and halting transfers of children into and out of the facility. The sick children were moved to local hospitals where they are being treated.

The swine flu case, discovered late last week, involved a 16-year-old Salvadoran boy who, like others at the facility, had been transferred recently from Nogales, Ariz. A U.S. official said that in addition to the Salvadoran youth treated for swine flu, another case of swine flu was detected in June at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. More than 1,000 immigrant children are being held at Lackland.

Overall Aerial View of Lackland Air Force Base San AntonioLackland Air Force Base

HHS spokesman Kenneth J. Wolfe said the illnesses “likely pose little or no risk to the general public,” and insisted that the “arriving children” youths illegally crossing the border have been screened at U.S. border stations for health problems and given medical treatment if needed. Those “children” illegals sent to Pentagon locations had been given childhood vaccinations three days prior to entering Defense Department facilities.

Wolfe said,“If it is determined that children have certain communicable diseases or have been exposed to such communicable diseases, they are placed in a program or facility that has the capacity to quarantine. Children with serious health conditions are treated at local hospitals.” The cost of this care is “fully paid” by the federal government TAX PAYERS.

Other immigrant children are being held at bases in Texas and Oklahoma. The current plan calls for releasing the “immigrant children” illegal youths to relatives prior to their court proceedings on illegal immigration charges.

It appears the flood of illegal immigrants is based on beliefs among those in the region that they can gain entry using a two-step process—first sending thousands of children on a dangerous migration northward into the United States, and then later anticipating that the U.S. government will grant entry to some or the rest of their families in a humanitarian gesture.

Obama has not dealt directly with the crisis. During a recent visit to Denver, the president was photographed drinking beer and playing pool while declining to visit the border or facilities where the children are being held in crowded, refugee-camp-like conditions.

The White House instead has asked Congress to approve $3.7 billion for dealing with the crisis. Both the House and Senate have balked at providing the funding during a time of fiscal austerity.

The thousands of immigrants currently are caught up in a government bureaucratic legal system that is delaying rapid deportation back to their home countries. Critics of the delay say the illegals should be flown back without delay to their home countries, which include Guatemala and El Salvador, on military transport aircraft.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R.) said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday that the president is ultimately responsible for the border crisis. Perry said he alerted the president in May 2012 to the flood of alien children who were traveling north on trains “and we laid out exactly what we felt was going to happen if we didn’t address that. And now we’re seeing that become reality, with literally tens of thousands of these young children making this long, arduous, very dangerous trip, being separated from their parents. And it could have been stopped years ago had the administration listened.”

H/t California Political Review

See also:

UPDATE (July 18, 2014):

The MSM finally are reporting on this.

On July 17, ABC News reports that the federal government is so overwhelmed by the current tide of migrants crossing the border it can’t provide basic medical screening to all of the illegals aliens before transporting them – often by air – to longer-term holding facilities across the country.

Translated into plain English, that means Americans who travel by air or bus are being exposed to the diseases carried by the illegals, including CONTAGIOUS diseases like TB, measles, and chicken pox.

~Eowyn

Obama’s Pentagon lays off thousands of military officers, incl. active duty

Dr. Eowyn:

President Lucifer’s war against the military continues.
H/t FOTM’s Wild Bill Alaska

Originally posted on Consortium of Defense Analysts:

tired soldier

The Obama administration is cutting thousands of officers from the military, citing the demands of sequestration. Those being laid off include a number of officers on active duty, with some receiving pink slips while on the battlefield.

Fox News reports, July 13, 2014, that the Pentagon is laying off thousands of military officers, including those serving or who have recently served in Afghanistan.

On Thursday, July 10, Gen. John Campbell told Congress that 1,100 soldiers, including some currently serving in Afghanistan, would receiving pink slips due to sequestration budget cuts to the Defense Department.

Roughly 2,600 captains and other officers have or will be laid off, with more expected.

Defense Department officials said the reductions are the result of mandatory spending cuts imposed by sequestration and are part of their larger plan to reduce the number of U.S. soldiers from 520,000 to 450,000.

The Army insists the draw-down plan…

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Pro-amnesty billionaires should open their mansions to illegals

billionaires for amnesty

A country is like a house, but with borders instead of doors.

Anyone who enters your home without your invitation or permission are trespassers. The same applies to a country.

But Barack Obama, with the active collusion of the governments of Mexico and Guatemala, has decided to throw open America’s southern border by refusing to enforce border security and immediately sending back or deporting trespassers.

In so doing, the POS is committing dereliction of duty as the head of the U.S. government, and of malfeasance — an act that is criminal or wrongful which causes injury of another person. In this case, “another person” actually numbers in the millions. They are the citizens, legal residents and legal immigrants of the United States, as well as people across the world who respect our laws, having applied to and are patiently awaiting immigration to the U.S.

President Lucifer has powerful and vocal allies not only in the MSM but also among the richest and most powerful — the 0.1 percenters. They include multi-billionaires Sheldon Adelson (casino mogul), Michael Bloomberg (finance-media mogul and former NY mayor who wants to change the U.S. Constitution to prevent future Boston Marathon bombings), Warren Buffet (investor and abortion funder), Bill Gates (founder of Microsoft and funder of a remote-controlled contraceptive-abortion microchip implant), Charles and David Koch (industrialists and businessmen), Rupert Murdoch (media mogul), George Soros (currency profiteer and manipulator), and Mark Zuckerberg (founder of Facebook).

As Hunter Wallace observes in the blog, Occidental Dissent:

Whether Left or Right, Republican or Democrat, Jew or Gentile, the billionaires in this country – the “1 percent” who rule the American oligarchy - overwhelmingly support amnesty for illegal aliens. The GOP establishment, the Obama administration, the Left, the SPLC [Southern Poverty Law Center], and the “1 percent” are on the same side of this issue.

Are they on your side?

In the video below, Bill Whittle asks the pro-amnesty billionaires to match their deeds to their rhetoric by opening the doors of their mansions to house the illegals flooding across the US-Mexico border, because that effectively is what they are asking from you, me, and the non-élite American people who will have to cough up even more in taxes to pay for the costs of transporting, housing, feeding and schooling HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of illegals.

~Eowyn

U.S. running out of more and more prescription drugs

drug shortages box and pillKatherine Eban, “Drug Shortages: The Scary Reality of a World Without Meds,” Reader’s Digest Magazine, June 2014:

Jennifer LaCognata, 40, a booking agent for United Airlines from Safety Harbor, Florida, first suffered an attack of night blindness in early 2011. It took months to properly diagnose her. She was vitamin A deficient, due to a shortened bowel that made her body unable to absorb fat. The good news: The problem was totally fixable with injections of a basic medicine called Aquasol A, made by Hospira, an American generic drug company.

But bad news quickly followed. LaCognata learned that manufacturing challenges had forced Hospira to stop selling the drug, effectively plunging the entire world into a shortage. Without Aquasol A, LaCognata is going blind. United Airlines placed her on unpaid medical leave because she could no longer look at a computer screen. She is forced to wear an eye patch and can see only kaleidoscopic fragments out of one eye. “My kids call me Pirate now,” she says, “instead of Mom.”

LaCognata and her husband canvassed the world for Aquasol A. They contacted the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the State Department, and every major eye hospital in America. (They found two vials, but they were expired, so hospitals wouldn’t release them.) The couple wrote and called hospitals and organizations in Israel, China, Canada, and Brazil. LaCognata contacted charities, including the Red Cross and the Helen Keller Foundation, that serve foreign populations prone to vitamin A deficiency, without luck.

A Hospira spokesperson said that the company recognized the “critical need” for Aquasol A and had contracted with a separate manufacturing company to “accelerate the product’s return to market.” But years later, the company has yet to resume its production.

It is listed on Hospira’s website as “out of stock.”

“I can’t believe this could happen in America,” LaCognata says.

A Shocking Epidemic

It seems unfathomable in our high-tech medical system, but in 2007, 154 drugs were in shortage, a number that almost tripled to 456 in 2012, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

Threatening medical-care options and patients’ lives, drug shortages have occurred in almost every pharmaceutical category. Antibiotics, cancer drugs, anesthesia, pain control, reproductive and gynecological drugs, cardiac medicine, psychiatric drugs, and intravenous-feeding solutions have all been in varying degrees of short supply or not available at all. Recently, nitroglycerin, an emergency room staple used to treat heart attack patients, has been in such severe scarcity that its sole U.S. manufacturer has restricted hospitals to 40 percent of their usual orders. A study published this March in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings attributed more than 15 documented deaths since 2010 to either lack of treatment or the switch to an inferior drug as a result of medication shortages.

Though the FDA has scrambled to alleviate the crisis and physicians have become deft at juggling or substituting treatments, there is no comprehensive solution to this drug-supply breakdown, which has persisted for a complex array of reasons.

The first is all about money. As generic drug prices have dropped, so have manufacturers’ profits. As a result, some manufacturers have failed to invest in infrastructure and quality control. To ensure safety, the FDA has taken regulatory actions that have halted supplies, with sterile injectable drugs, such as pain meds and chemotherapy, dominating the shortage list. (These are the most complex and costly generics to make.) The business model of just-in-time manufacturing—in which companies make drugs as patients need them but do not stockpile extra—leaves no margin for unexpected events.

Noting that there are no shortages of big profit-generators, like Viagra, many practitioners and patients suspect less-than-honorable motives by drugmakers. Some experts suggest that manufacturers may have financial incentive to temporarily stop production of a drug. Medicare reform imposed certain price controls on generic drugs, but, due to a loophole, these controls are lifted if a manufacturer stops making the drug for six months.

Limited manufacturing capacity is an important factor too. Over half the drugs on the FDA shortage list had only one or two manufacturers, according to a report by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics. Some blame hospital buying groups, middlemen that purchase drugs and supplies for many of the nation’s hospitals, which have awarded contracts to some manufacturers and not others, thereby suppressing competition and innovation. The result is that for any given drug, there may be only one or two generic manufacturers left to produce it, which can lead to shortages.

Predatory middlemen are making the situation even worse. A congressional investigation led by Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Baltimore Democrat, has found that shady secondary wholesalers buy up drugs in shortage and resell them, often at exorbitant prices. This explains, in part, the haphazard ebb and flow of the shortages that makes them particularly hard to handle: One day the medicine is just gone, but there’s plenty the next.

But as experts debate the cause of the shortages, there is no disagreement over their devastating impact. They’ve turned pharmacists into professional beggars and have forced doctors to change treatment protocols on the fly—in some cases, turning routine care into a roll of the dice. They’ve stopped clinical trials and have led to the suspension of the death penalty in some states that use lethal injection.

Shortages are leading hospitals and patients to get drugs from less regulated and potentially less safe sources, such as drug compounders, specialty pharmacies that mix medications for individual patients. Some compounding pharmacies, which are not subject to regulation as stringent as that for drug manufacturers, have taken advantage of this and started churning out large volumes of drugs. But this can lead to safety issues. Such dangers became vividly clear in 2012, after contaminated steroids from the New England Compounding Center led to an outbreak of meningitis that killed 64 patients. A 2013 report by the Health and Human Services inspector general found that drug shortages have led 68 percent of U.S. hospitals to turn to compounders to make versions of medicine in short supply.

Patients today have to cope not only with being sick or choosing between treatment options but also with the possibility that the drug they need may be available solely from a risky source—or not at all.drug shortages by yearA Scary Reality for Cancer Patients

Those with life-threatening diseases have been hit hardest by shortages, in part because many of their medications have no substitute and their exacting treatment regimens cannot be delayed.

Justine Zirbes, 33, a TV producer in Minneapolis, was seven months pregnant with twins in October 2010 when she learned that her three-year-old, Axel, had leukemia. The distressing news sent her into early labor, and she was confined to bed.

As her son embarked on grueling chemotherapy for a disease that can often be cured if treated—but is almost certainly fatal if not—Zirbes learned that a national shortage of the chemotherapy drug cytarabine would affect his regimen. Doctors offered a drug called clofarabine, which was not standard treatment. Though still pregnant and on bed rest, Zirbes flatly refused. “How is this possible, in this country in 2011, that these lifesaving drugs are not widely available?” Zirbes recalls. “I was beside myself with disbelief.”

Zirbes was justified in her concern. According to a 2012 study in the New England Journal of Medicine, drug substitutions due to shortages led to higher relapse rates among children with an otherwise curable form of lymphoma.

Like Jennifer LaCognata, Zirbes embarked on a quest to find the right medicine. She contacted her senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), who took up the cause with proposed legislation. Zirbes produced two news segments on children affected by drug shortages. She worked every connection she had and looked as far away as Europe to find her son’s drug. Ultimately, the day before Axel was due for treatment, the hospital got enough cytarabine to treat him and another child.

Axel was reasonably lucky. Other patients, like Carey Fitzmaurice of Bethesda, Maryland, almost certainly suffered recurrence of their cancer because of drug shortages.

In 2006, Fitzmaurice, 37, was happily married with two young children and a job she loved as a policy analyst at the Environmental Protection Agency, when she learned that she had ovarian cancer and a BRCA1 genetic mutation that had likely caused it.

Over five years, she bravely underwent debilitating treatment, a recurrence of her ovarian cancer, an additional diagnosis of breast cancer, and a radical mastectomy. In the middle of 2011, things finally seemed to be breaking her way. Her breast cancer was in remission, and a chemotherapy drug called Doxil, made by a contractor for the Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen, Inc., appeared to be vanquishing a recurrence of the ovarian cancer. But in August 2011, she learned there was not enough Doxil to complete her treatment.

Fitzmaurice assumed that she would be able to find some on her own. “I work for the federal government,” she says. “A lot of what I do is help people cut through red tape and find solutions. That’s how I tackled cancer to begin with: find out who the right doctor is, where to get surgery.”

But the shortage of Doxil thwarted her every effort. After four months without the medication, her ovarian cancer returned.

In a recent study from the University of Pennsylvania presented at the 2013 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, 83 percent of oncologists and hematologists said they’ve faced cancer drug shortages, and of those, nearly all said their patients’ treatment had been affected by drug shortages.

At the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center in Columbus, Ohio, Ryan Forrey, associate director for pharmacy and infusion services, says that in 2012, of the 60,000 doses of chemotherapy administered intravenously at his facility, almost 35 percent were affected by shortages. Treatment was interrupted or canceled, patients were switched to alternative drugs, or an alternative supply for the needed drug had to be found. His overwhelmed staff “was forced to beg, borrow, plead to get drugs for patients,” he says.

Now, whenever a patient begins chemotherapy, Forrey’s hospital sequesters the entire treatment regimen, which can be months of medication, to ensure that it is available. But Forrey is not optimistic that the drug shortages will ease.

“Every time I think it can’t get worse, it does get worse,” he says.

drug shortages five drug classesAre Drug Shortages a New Normal?

Shortages are not limited to drugs for cancer or uncommon diseases. Experts fear that scarcity of the heart attack drug nitroglycerin is endangering patients’ lives. Last spring, the most basic of antibiotics, doxycycline, used for everything from acne to Lyme disease, disappeared from pharmacies. Even intravenous saline solution, a hospital staple, has been in short supply, leading some hospitals to ration their use. In fact, almost every U.S. hospital has faced a lack of basic medicine, found an American Hospital Association survey. Many have even hired a full-time staff person specifically to navigate shortages.

Hospitals have developed complex formulas to help ration existing drug supplies—essentially, to determine which patients get medication and which don’t.

“No doctor wants to prioritize,” says Richard Schilsky, MD, chief medical officer of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. “But if you have five patients and only three vials, that’s a very real problem.”

A significant shortage creep is affecting mainstays of reproductive and sexual-health medicine, from anesthetics used in gynecologic surgery to antinausea drugs for pregnancy to antibiotics for sexually transmitted diseases, says Michele Curtis, MD, an ob-gyn in Houston. “I work in the most expensive health-care system in the world, and I am being asked to do it in third world conditions,” she says.

Thirty-seven of the 38 different components used in intravenous nutrition bags have been in fluctuating shortage since spring 2009, which is a serious threat to our country’s youngest and most fragile children. Insufficient zinc, for example, has led to raw blistering sores on the tiny hands of premature infants.

“We have been compromising what we feel is optimal care for close to three years now, and we don’t really see any end in sight,” says Jay M. Mirtallo, immediate past president of the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition.

Rolling the Dice

Doctors, patients, and regulators have jury-rigged fixes with their own hazards, using drugs that may have worse side effects or less favorable outcomes or come from unsavory wholesalers or less regulated drugmakers.

The shortages have forced Susan Agrawal, in Chicago, to make difficult decisions as she struggles to keep her nine-year-old daughter, Karuna, alive. Karuna was born with cerebral palsy due to a ruptured umbilical cord. She has since developed an autoimmune disease that causes her organs to fail. She survives by getting her nutrients intravenously and needs bags of liquid nutrition with 14 components, which Agrawal gets from a specialized sterile infusion facility.

Agrawal has had to canvass local pharmacies and drug compounders to find the ingredients that the facility can’t get. In fact, she’s even purchased drug components from a compounding pharmacy that has had repeated run-ins with state regulators for unsanitary conditions. Then she must reconstitute the components, from powder to liquid, at her dining room table, with no guarantee of sterility, and add them to her daughter’s IV bags. “It’s like, ‘Cross your fingers,’ ” she says.

Although Karuna is very sick, the fact that her IV nutrition—which shouldn’t be this complicated—is so fraught may be compromising the quality of life she has left. Agrawal fears that given her daughter’s fragile health and immune system, the shortages “will surely cause her death.”

In a survey of 1,800 health-care practitioners, about 25 percent reported errors due to shortages. Among the 1,000 incidents: a patient who died from an infection that could have been treated had the antibiotic amikacin been available, accidental overdoses of alternative drugs, and prolonged hospitalizations due to side effects from alternative drugs.

A medicine substitution sickened Sharon Brown, who was being treated for stage 2 breast cancer at Ohio State University. She was suffering relatively few side effects from her chemotherapy drug, Taxol, but then in June 2011, her doctors were unable to procure her next dose and switched her to a similar drug, Taxotere.

Two days after her first dose, she suffered a devastating reaction, an uncommon but known side effect: She grew dizzy, broke into a cold sweat, and could not lift her arms over her head. She was so dehydrated that hospital staff could not even draw blood from her veins. For the next two weeks, she needed IV fluids every other day just to treat her dehydration. She was too sick to resume chemotherapy for another month.

Even the FDA has been boxed into a corner. After the cancer drug Doxil became unavailable in late 2011, the FDA made an emergency provision to allow an Indian generic-drug company, Sun Pharma Global, to temporarily export a similar generic drug, Lipodox, which is not approved in the United States. Although patients and doctors applauded the move, Sun Pharma has faced repeated past FDA sanctions for poor quality. (In 2009, U.S. marshals raided its U.S. manufacturing plant and shut down production.)

Patients say that drugmakers have forced them into unacceptable treatment. Sufferers of Fabry disease, a rare life-threatening enzyme disorder that dangerously slows blood supply, have only the drug Fabrazyme, made by the company Genzyme, to treat their disease. But in 2009, Genzyme was forced to shut down its manufacturing plant in Allston, Massachusetts, after a viral contamination was discovered.

As Genzyme entered into a consent decree with the FDA and struggled to open a new plant, it established a rationing program. Patients would be required to take a reduced dose instead of their whole dose. If they refused, they would be given no medicine and placed at the bottom of the waiting list. A spokesperson for Genzyme says the company imposed this condition after it consulted with a working group that included doctors and patient advocates. However, patients say that the FDA did not study the impact of the diminished dose, and—more shocking—the European Medicines Agency, Europe’s main drug regulator, found that a reduced dose accelerated disease in some patients. (Genzyme spokeswoman Lori Gorski says that during the shortage, the FDA did permit patients to take an alternative drug, Replagal, made by Shire.)

In February 2012, a Pittsburgh patent lawyer, Allen Black, PhD, who had worked as a drug developer, filed a lawsuit against the FDA on behalf of patients affected by drug shortages. Those included patients with Fabry disease as well as Jennifer LaCognata, who needs Aquasol A. The lawsuit alleged that by allowing drug companies to stop making a drug, the FDA effectively allows them to make life-or-death decisions for patients. As Black says, “There’s no appeals process. You get denied a drug? Tough.” The FDA’s response offered little comfort to patients expecting help. In a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, the FDA stated that while it “works with manufacturers to help prevent and mitigate these shortages, the FDA’s authority to address potential and actual drug shortages is limited.” Last November, the court dismissed the case.

For Real Solutions, We Need Big Reform

In July 2012, Congress passed the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act, which included provisions originally spearheaded by Justine Zirbes’s senator Amy Klobuchar. The law requires that drugmakers give the FDA early notification of any manufacturing issues or business decisions that may lead to shortages. It requires the FDA to expedite inspections and reviews of manufacturing sites that could help resolve shortages.

There is some evidence that the FDA has been successful in holding back the tide. In 2013, the number of new drugs added to the shortage list was far less than the number added in 2012. But in the first quarter of 2014, active shortages remained close to the highest level ever. The situation, which was the subject of a congressional hearing in February, remains “very critical,” says Erin Fox, director of the University of Utah’s drug information service.

Critics say the FDA’s response is mere window dressing that has done little to change underlying problems. “It’s fine to say that the FDA should have six months’ advance notice,” says Dr. Schilsky. But he views the new legislation as “doing nothing to address the root causes” of the problem.

Meanwhile, doctors and patients have little information about when they can expect shortages to be resolved. Despite planning and promises from drugmakers, “many resolution dates are unknown or unmet,” says Ryan Roux, chief pharmacy officer at the Harris County Hospital District in Texas.

Companies aren’t penalized for drug shortages or incentivized to avoid them, experts say. The only real solution, say a number of health-care professionals, is to require drug manufacturers to stockpile medicine and to ensure that more than one drugmaker produces it. “There needs to be a way to obligate multiple manufacturers to make these lifesaving medications,” says Ohio State’s Forrey.

The FDA would have to require that manufacturers change their just-in-time manufacturing model and set aside reserves of lifesaving drugs, which the FDA has claimed is impossible. But one executive at a pharmacy benefit-management company, who asked to remain anonymous, says the FDA could easily mandate this: “Don’t give me this stuff: ‘We can’t tell the drug companies what to do,’” he says. “Yes, you can; you do it all the time.” The FDA, with all its leverage, “could probably solve 90 percent of the problem.”

Some vital industries, such as technology and defense, encourage what is called second sourcing, in which manufacturers may sublease at least one fifth of production to backup companies to avoid supply-chain disruptions in the event of natural or other disasters. Justine Zirbes, who faced the prospect that her son Axel could have died from leukemia without cytarabine, says that manufacturers who “stop making a lifesaving drug” should be subject to criminal prosecution.

In a separate proceeding, Jennifer LaCognata sued Hospira on the grounds that the company failed to plan for contingencies in its shortage of Aquasol A. Last June, Florida’s 11th Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the suit. Her lawyer, Allen Black, then petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court, which declined to take the case. LaCognata, whose vision continues to deteriorate and who lost her house in a foreclosure proceeding, says she has to remain strong for her kids. “I have to have a very upbeat attitude,” she says, “or it would just consume [me].”

Just recently, her lawyer was staggered to learn from a friend who works for Doctors Without Borders that a version of the vitamin A drug that LaCognata needs is being manufactured in France, sold under the name Nepalm Vitamin A. But with her financial resources depleted, her doctor reluctant to prescribe it, and her need to get a compassionate-use exemption from the FDA (so the drug can get through customs), LaCognata just has to figure out how to obtain it.

House says “No” to Obama’s request for $3.7 BILLION for border crisis he fomented

The GOP-majority U.S. House of Representatives is saying “No” to the POS’s request for $3.7 BILLION to address the “border crisis” of wave after wave of illegals aliens surging across the Mexican border into the United States — a crisis fomented by the POS because he refuses to secure America’s southern border.

The Daily Mail reports that only about 3% of the $3.7 BILLION would actually be used to strengthen border security. The largest part of the $3.7 billion would go to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to care for the “unaccompanied children.” Business Insider has a more detailed outline of how the proposed $3.7 billion would be spent.

The Blaze reports that yesterday (Friday, July 11) morning, reporters asked Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Kentucky), chairman of the Appropriations Committee that controls spending, whether the House would approve the $3.7 billion spending package as-is. Rogers said no, “It’s too much money. We don’t need it,” and that no final action is likely until after the November midterm elections.

Rep. Hal RogersCongressman Hal Rogers (R-Kentucky)

Rogers spoke shortly after the Congressional Hispanic Caucus convened a news conference to denounce efforts to attach legal changes to the spending measure that would result in returning the children home more quickly to El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. Those countries account for most of the more than 57,000 unaccompanied “kids” who’ve arrived since October.

Republicans are demanding such changes, but key Senate Democrats are opposed, and members of the all-Democratic Hispanic Caucus added their strong objections Friday that sending the youths home quickly could put them at risk.

Imagine that: Sending the illegal “kids” home “could put them at risk”!!!

Luis GutierrezIllinois Democrat Rep. Luis Gutierrez draped himself with the banner of children’s “rights,” saying, “It would be unconscionable . . . to vote to undermine the rights of these [illegal alien] children.”

Kevin Appleby, director of migration and refugee policy for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, piled on, also claiming that sending “the kids” back means “They’ll be sent back to their persecutors with no help whatsoever, and possibly to their deaths.”

!!!!!!

So now those 57,000 “kids” — among whom are torturers and murderers – suddenly have morphed from pathetic “unaccompanied minors” into political refugees fleeing persecution!

Kevin Appleby

Make sure you tell your Congress critters who are running for reelection this November that you want our borders secured, the Invasion of the Illegals stopped, and that you oppose the $3.7 billion boondoggle that the POS is asking for a crisis that he himself has engendered.

~Eowyn