Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) announced today that Mark B. McClellan, M.D., Ph.D., Senior Fellow in Economic Studies, and Director of the Initiative on Value and Innovation in Health Care, Brookings Institution, will join the Board of Directors on October 15, 2013. Dr. McClellan will serve on the Regulatory, Compliance & Government Affairs Committee and the Science, Technology & Sustainability Committee of the Board.
As former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from 2002 to 2004, and as the former administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from 2004 to 2006, Dr. McClellan has more than two decades of public service and academic research experience. From 2001 to 2002, he served as a member of the President's Council of Economic Advisers and senior director for health care policy at the White House. During President William J. Clinton's administration, Dr. McClellan held the position of deputy assistant secretary of the Treasury for economic policy.
So Dr McClellan has gone from running the US Food and Drug Administration, the primary government regulator of the pharmaceutical industry, to stewardship of one of the biggest pharmaceutical (and biotechnology and device) companies.
Not noted in that announcement was that Dr McClellan has been collecting positions in health care corporations since at least 2009. The examples I found included in chronological order:
2009 - General Atlantic LLC
This appears to be a private equity firm which claims to be a "leading global investment firm."
From a 2010 a Mergers & Acquisitions article,
A year ago, the firm hired Dr Mark McClellan, previously a commissioner of the Food & Drug Administration, to its healthcare practice as a special advisor.
According to the firm's current website, he is still a special advisor.
2010 - Capital Royalty LP
In a 2010 press release, this apparently private equity firm claimed to be
a market pioneer and innovator in healthcare investing with a focus on intellectual property investments in FDA-approved biopharmaceutical assets
In that release, it announced the creation of a Strategic Advisory Committee that included Dr Mark McClellan. He still sits on that committee.
2012 - Castlight Health
In a 2012 press release, this firm claimed to be
developer of a personalized health care shopping portal offering unbiased information about health care cost and quality
That press release announced the addition of Dr McClellan to the firm's Advisory Board, on which he still sits.
2013 - AvivReit
This firm "specializes in the ownership and triple-net leasing of post-acute and long-term care skilled nursing facilities (SNFs)" per its website.
Dr McClellan is currently on its board of directors. He apparently was appointed in 2013.
Notably, I did not see anything in any of these firms' announcements about Dr McClellan or their biographies of him that noted his board or advisory committee positions with other firms.
Dr Mark McClellan rose through the ranks in the US executive branch ending with positions as FDA commissioner and administrator of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) within the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). He served under two presidents, Clinton and George W Bush. Within 3 years of exiting DHHS, he picked up his first important commercial position, at General Atlantic LLC, and then added other positions with Capital Royalty, Castlight Health, AvivReit, and now the biggest of all, Johnson and Johnson. Meanwhile he apparently continues at the Brookings Institution. He must be one very busy man.
This case could be lumped with those of another former FDA commissioner and Secretary of Health and Human Services who ended up as a Director of Medtronic (see this post), another Secretary of DHHS who ended up on the boards of multiple health care corporations (see this post), a director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) who became a Sanofi executive, etc, etc (see this post).
While some might argue whether his acquisition of a leading advisory position with a private equity firm three years after he left DHHS technically constituted a spin through the revolving door, Dr McClellan's cumulative acquisition of four more such positions within the following four years certainly demonstrates how our corporate dominated health care system and the government agencies which are supposed to be regulating it to assure the health and safety of patients, and the maintenance of the public health seem to be run by an interchangeable cast of insiders. We have asked before whether we can trust federal regulators to put patients' and the public's health first when they know they could easily become candidates for lucrative private positions in the companies they regulate, or which are affected by their regulations, presumably assuming they have not done too much during their time in government to offend the leaders of such companies.
We have noted that the system in which government and big corporations largely overlap in terms of their leadership and presumably goals is called corporatism. One can argue that such systems end up being run primarily for the benefit of corporate and government insiders.
Until we dispel the fog of corporatism that has spread over the government that was once supposed to be of the people, by the people, and for the people, expect no real health care reform, and expect continuing rising costs, declining access, and worsening patient care. Obviously, true health care reform would start with the government and its officials putting patients' and the public's health first, way ahead of the financial comfort of corporate leaders.
I would note that neither the currently controversial and now operational Affordable Care Act, nor any of its opponents schemes for alternatives addresses this issue.
by Roy M. Poses MD for Health Care Renewal