The study published September 2023 in Health Affairs found that 15 percent of HHS employees previously worked in the private sector before being appointed to the federal government. Thirty-two percent of HHS staffers left the department for big pharmaceutical industries at the end of their tenure.
The study authors looked at HHS staffers in different agencies under it, which were appointed between 2004 and 2020. Employees from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had the highest attrition rate, with 54 percent of its employees leaving for big pharmaceutical companies within the said period. Meanwhile, 53 percent of employees from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) jumped ship to the private sector within that period. (Related: CDC funding decisions based largely on politics, not science.)
The authors also looked at the U.S. Government Policy and Supporting Positions, commonly known as the Plum Book, to analyze the career paths of 807 employees appointed to positions within the HHS between 2004 and 2020. The analysis included agency heads, senior administrators and their aides. The collected information was then cross-referenced with their respective LinkedIn profiles to track their career transitions.
Study co-author Genevieve Kanter of the University of Southern California's (USC) Schaeffer Center pointed out that staff members' movement between the public and private sectors may influence the prioritization and direction of health policies and initiatives. "What I am really concerned about is whether the personnel flow might lead to biases in government decision-making," she said.
Kanter, together with her co-author Daniel Carpenter of Harvard University, called for an expansion of so-called federal "cooling off" laws. Such laws require former government employees to wait for at least one year before lobbying or engaging in any communication on behalf of any entity seeking official action.
One such law is Title 18 Section 207 of the U.S. Code, which "imposes a one-to-two-year cooling-off period on former executive branch officials, prohibiting them from lobbying the federal government on behalf of private organizations." Such regulations, the study said, aim to prevent former government employees from advocating for interests that may conflict with the policies they previously worked on during their government tenure.
However, Kanter argued that such laws fall short of addressing the subtler and more pervasive aspects of the "revolving door." She explained: "They do not broadly cover a lot of lobbying related to agency decision-making – like regulations and drug authorizations — so they don’t necessarily deter that behavior."
"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."
Even Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (RFK Jr.) attested to the existence of this "revolving door" between the public and private sectors. He mentioned, however, that other such doors exist outside of the HHS.
"The 'revolving doors' operate way beyond the [health] industry," he tweeted, adding that "people shuttle back and forth between industry and … pretty much every regulatory body. I've seen it firsthand in my dealings with Big Pharma and corporate polluters."
Corruption.news has more stories about the "revolving door" between HHS and Big Pharma.
Watch this video about the ongoing issue of the revolving door between the federal government and Big Pharma.
This video is from the PureTrauma357 channel on Brighteon.com.