- More than a third of HHS appointees leave to work in the private sector
- Republican presidents were more likely to appoint people directly from the industry.
- READ MORE: Big Pharma Pays ‘Influential Patients’
More than half of the staff at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) work for big pharma, according to a first-of-its-kind report.
The research suggested that 54 percent of CDC government workers moved into the private sector between 2004 and 2020.
More than a third of Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) appointees leave to work in the private health care sector, as do 53 percent of Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services employees. .
HHS is the branch of the US government that deals with health, and the CDC is one of its main components.
Researchers at the University of Southern California and Harvard University have called for an expansion of federal “cooling off” laws, which bar former government employees from immediately lobbying on behalf of private organizations.
They said the “revolving door” between federal workers and private health care 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 government appointment (file photo).
Currently, former employees must wait one year after leaving the CDC before “any communication or appearance before any official or employee of their former agency on behalf of anyone seeking official action.”
This was created to prevent people from “changing sides” on an issue they worked on during their government role.
But the new report says the laws don’t go far enough.
The researchers analyzed the professional histories of 766 HHS appointees between 2004 and 2020 who held political office, including agency heads, senior administrators and their aides.
They found that 15 per cent had been employed in private industry immediately prior to their government appointment.
Nearly a third (32 percent) left their HHS role for industry.
Industry was the next most common destination after working at HHS, rather than other jobs in government, nonprofits, and academia.
Republican presidents were more likely to appoint people directly from the industry.
The authors said: “The mere existence of a revolving door is neither surprising nor necessarily problematic.”
Employees can earn higher salaries in biopharmaceutical industries than in government jobs, and government regulators who previously worked in industries they are regulating may have helpful insights.
But Genevieve Kanter, a co-author of the study and an associate professor of public policy at the University of Southern California, said she was “really concerned” about “whether the influx of staff could lead to biases in government decision-making.”
He explained that current chill laws tend to last no more than two years and are limited in scope because they “don’t cover a lot of lobbying related to agency decision-making, like regulation and drug authorizations, so they don’t necessarily discourage that.” behavior”. .’
Ms Kanter added: ‘The direction that could be taken is to extend the laws of cooling. But that’s a blunt instrument for a lot of subtle things that might be going on in terms of revolving door effects.’
The study was published in the journal health issues.
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 a Senior Administrator at the Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services from 2013-2015.
His appointment to AHIP in 2015 came just months after the health insurance industry also hired former Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz, a Pennsylvania Democrat, to head the Better Medicare Alliance, a research group that supports health insurance choice. private Medicare Advantage.