|Jerry Falwell Attacks Life Extension Foundation|
On July 8, 2003, an editorial by the Reverend Jerry Falwell was published in The Washington Times newspaper. The purpose of this editorial was to discourage lawmakers from passing a bill that would enable Americans to purchase lower-cost medications from countries that have safety standards comparable to those of the United States.
Since there is no logical basis for denying Americans identical FDA-approved drugs sold in other countries, the pharmaceutical industry (and Jerry Falwell) have launched a defamatory campaign against consumer advocates who support this drug importation bill.
In his editorial, Jerry Falwell makes allegations against The Life Extension Foundation that are blatantly false and misleading. Reverend Falwell’s comments reveal just how desperate the drug cartel is to protect its monopoly on sales of over-priced pharmaceuticals to Americans.
Jerry Falwell is the TV evangelist who set up an organization called “The Moral Majority.” One purpose of this organization was to induce Congress to enact laws that would impose the “moral” standards of Jerry Falwell on the entire U.S. population. This group exerted a lot of pressure on Congress before it was disbanded in 1989.
One of Jerry Falwell’s most famous attacks was on a children’s TV show called “Teletubbies.” In an article published in his own National Liberty Journal, Falwell announced that one of the Teletubby puppets was exhibiting homosexual behavior and that this was promoting a “gay role model.” At the time, I had young children who watched Teletubbies, and my wife had to go to great length to show me which of the puppets was exhibiting this alleged homosexual behavior.
Upon being enlightened to the purported gay puppet, I became convinced that Jerry Falwell should move to Iran where his imaginative abilities might actually be appreciated. Not that the Iranian people could tolerate him, but perhaps the hard-line theocratic government of Iran might have used his edicts to create even more draconian laws against individual liberty.
Falwell has built a reputation of making ridiculously offensive statements. For instance, two days after the terror attacks on the World Trade Center, Falwell stated:
“The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America, I point the finger in their face and say: you helped this happen.”
After withstanding a couple of days of public denunciations, Falwell issued a retraction as follows:
“I would never blame any human being except the terrorists, and if I left that impression with gays or lesbians or anyone else, I apologize.”
What Jerry Falwell Said About Life Extension
We were unable to re-print Jerry Falwell’s entire defamatory editorial because his media relations office denied us permission.
In lieu of re-printing Falwell’s entire editorial, we have excerpted statements he made against Life Extension and followed them with our rebuttals. Falwell first sought to discredit the drug importation bill by attacking groups that support it. Falwell states:
“What’s more, ratcheting open the walls that protect our market for medicines means that those who want to import bizarre and unethical medications will have that much more opportunity to do so. Consider those supporting drug importation off Capitol Hill, and that perverse motivation becomes clear.”
The facts are that the drug importation bill only permits Americans to obtain identical FDA-approved prescription drugs. Jerry Falwell is using bogus scare tactics to imply that the American marketplace will be flooded with “bizarre and unethical medications”. When the enormous profits of the drug industry are threatened, truth goes out the door.
Reverend Falwell then attacks Life Extension:
“For instance, drug importation advocates regularly cite research from the Alcor Life Extension Foundation in their arguments. But the so-called Life Extension Foundation (LEF), ironically, is a rabidly anti-life organization. It has cited RU-486 as an ‘anti-aging’ medication that once just missed its top 10 list of life-extending drugs.”
The Reverend Falwell has problems getting his facts straight. He has confused The Life Extension Foundation (LEF) of Florida with another organization called the Alcor Life Extension Foundation of Arizona. LEF and Alcor are separate organizations involved in different activities, but when it comes to a political smear campaign, simple facts are apparently irrelevant to the Reverend.
RU-486 has demonstrated anti-aging and anti-cancer properties that could save lives.1-6
Since it is also used to induce abortions, however, it has become highly politicized and cancer patients cannot easily get it. A few gynecologists prescribe and dispense RU-486, but most American doctors prescribe a morning-after pill called Preven® that is sold at American pharmacies.
RU-486 is not freely sold anywhere that we could find. In most European countries, patients must consume RU-486 in front of their doctors, as it is not stocked in pharmacies. The bill that would enable Americans to import lower-cost FDA-approved prescription drugs would not provide greater access to RU-486 than already exists, but again, facts are of no concern to the self-righteous Falwell.
Reverend Falwell then states:
“LEF has demonstrated its disregard for human life not only by advocating cloning but embryonic stem cell research to reverse the signs of aging. Those who support taking the lives of unborn children to support the selfish desire to live a longer and fuller life are not the allies we hope to see advocating public policy changes for America.”
Life Extension has long been a proponent of embryonic stem cell research. Stem cell therapies used today, however, do not involve “taking the lives of unborn children.” Scientists are harvesting patients’ own stem cells, growing them in the laboratory, and then injecting the stem cells into the specific organ affected by a disease process (see sidebar on next page). The proposed use of embryonic stem cells to treat aging involves pre-embryonic cells taken long before a child has been formed. None of this, of course, has anything to do with the right of Americans to access lower-cost medications. Falwell has attacked stem cell research in order to divert Congress’ attention from the real issue of passing a bill that would greatly reduce the price of prescription medications.
To sidetrack members of Congress from the fact that Americans are grossly overcharged for their prescription drugs, Falwell is mischaracterizing the abortion issue, which has absolutely nothing to do with the drug importation issue.