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With the recent advent of the new  UNC Advisory Committee on Strategic Directions, there’s been a lot of controversy about the group’s inclusion of two right-wing millionaire businessmen: chain store magnate Art Pope of Raleigh and pharmaceuticals industry mogul, Fred Eshelman of Wilmington. Chris Fitzsimon has been reporting and commenting on this story frequently.

Interestingly, some observers — especially in the Wilmington area —  have expressed the opinion that while they support the criticisms of Pope, they disagree with attacks on Eshelman. In this narrative, Eshelman is conservative, but a good guy and BIG supporter of UNC who’s getting a bum rap by being  grouped with Pope. Eshelman, himself, has complained that his politics are not relevant to his involvement in the new committee.

A new story posted today by WRAL’s Mark Binker helps make clear, however, why that argument doesn’t wash.  Read More

Article IX, Section 9 of the North Carolina Constitution says the following:  

“The General Assembly shall provide that the benefits of The University of North Carolina and other public institutions of higher education, as far as practicable, be extended to the people of the State free of expense.”

Unfortunately, as this op-ed in today’s Raleigh News & Observer helps make plain, the requirement is quickly ceasing to have any real meaning as right-wing money bags like Board of Governors member Fred “Right Change” Eshelman do their worst to privatize higher education. 

As the piece notes:

“Eshelman is essentially transferring a radical political ideology directly into the governing board of the university. That, of course, was what his appointment was intended to do.”

Let’s hope North Carolinians wake up to this effort to drag down our universities before there’s nothing left to save.

PPD CEO Fred Eshelman’s animosity towards federal oversight might be explained by his having to appear at a Congressional hearing earlier this year to explain why his company, PPD Inc, did not inform the FDA about fraud in a clinical study overseen by PPD for $20 million. The antibiotic drug Ketek, made by Aventis, received FDA approval, based in part on the fraudulent study, even though the FDA had become aware of the fraud through its own inspections. Use of Ketek was restricted after some patients experienced serious liver problems, some fatal. Eshelman claimed that PPD had no obligation to inform the FDA of the fraud due to its contractual relationship with Aventis now known as Sanofi-Aventis. Chris Fitzsimon wrote yesterday about RightChange the 527 founded and funded by Fred Eshelman: A strange 527 in North Carolina. Eshelman owns 8.6 million shares of PPD Inc (PPDI). A rise of just 33 cents in PPD stock (1%) pays for the $2.73 million he has put into RightChange. It’s not small change and it may be his right but that doesn’t make it right.

YouTube Preview Image Fred Eshelman Congressional Testimony 1 of 3

Not much in the first clip. It gets more interesting in the second two clips:
YouTube Preview Image Fred Eshelman Congressional Testimony 2 of 3

YouTube Preview Image Fred Eshelman Congressional Testimony 3 of 3