In its continuing quest to push for deregulation and protection for big business from lawsuits, The Wall Street Journal has turned to former Wall Street trader Michael Milken, who was convicted of committing one of the largest illegal insider trading schemes of the 1980s.
In a February 8 Journal op-ed, Milken argued that the United States should do more to help pharmaceutical companies increase their research and development. He proposed several measures to increase government aid to the pharmaceutical industry but his first proposal involved decreasing taxes, decreasing regulations, and protecting pharmaceutical companies from defective product lawsuits:
We can remove some of the barriers to growth in medical research through several public-policy steps:
Match the inducements of other countries. Many nations offer generous tax incentives, easier recruitment of clinical-trial subjects, strong government partnerships and far less litigation. We cannot and should not stop American biopharmaceutical and medical-device manufacturers from expanding overseas operations. But we can reduce needless bureaucracy at home, implement tort reform, and restructure taxation of foreign income.
Milken is no run-of-the-mill champion of deregulation. Although the Journal identified Miken as "chairman of FasterCures, a Washington-based center of the Milken Institute," he is best known for pleading guilty to six felony counts of securities fraud and related charges after an investigation into claims that he was involved in insider trading in the junk market he helped create while at Drexel Burnham Lambert in the 1990s.
Turning to Milken to push for deregulation and lawsuit reform is like turning to a doctor convicted of Medicaid fraud to comment on health care reform. Whoops, I guess the Journal has done that too.