Monday, September 10, 2007

Quite unlike Caesar's Wife

Massachusetts is buzzing with the news that the Mass Biotech Council, an industry group, had closed in a candidate to replace the ethically challenged former politician who had resigned as the previous president. The big news isn't only who it is, but the fact that the same person has been cleverly multitasking by nearly simultaneously interviewing for the MBC job & writing the Patrick administration's big biotech program. Uh, oh.

It's truly sad. Biotech generally has a good public reputation and is viewed as different than Big Pharma. Squandering that good will by even appearing to be engaged to double-dippers is disappointing. Many more shenanigans like this & biotech will be viewed as just another big business playing the corrupt political gain for private benefit at public expense.

The Globe has also reported that the MBC is looking less-and-less like an organization run by biotech executives and more-and-more like a pure lobbying group. I've attended some MBC-sponsored seminars and they were quite good. I'm not naive enough to think that lobbying isn't useful, but it is equally naive (but in the other direction) to allow it to take over.

It isn't hard to see how that slippery slope is entered. Millennium once sponsored a role-playing simulation, and Tom Finneran (the former MBC head who resigned after being convicted of corruption) is a charming guy. He'll charm your socks off. He'll activate every charm-induced promoter in your genome. But he also made the MBC look to the public like just another cushy landing for a charming pol.

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