What happens when a doctor has close ties to pharmaceutical companies and has no less than four serious malpractice suits against her? She is nominated to take over NIH with the full blessing of former NIAID director Anthony Fauci, setting the stage to continue the cycle of corruption and incompetency he began during his tenure.
Currently the head of NIH’s National Cancer Institute, Bertagnolli is an award-winning oncologist and a survivor of breast cancer. She also seems to have big pharma right where she wants them – in her pocket. American Accountability Foundation (AAF) has revealed that the good doctor received more than $350 million from pharmaceutical companies throughout her career, including $59 million from companies like Pfizer and AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals in 2022 alone.
The White House defends the funding, claiming it was awarded in grants to her non-profit organization. While the funds didn’t directly flow to Bertagnolli, she did claim a salary of over $1.6 million from her position at Brigham and Women’s / Dana Farber Cancer Institute, including bonuses.
Prior to taking the position at NCI, she enjoyed the benefits of board membership at biotech firm Leap Therapeutics, where she earned nearly $73,000 in stock options alone along with almost $33,000 in cash. Her position on the board of diagnostics firm Natera, Inc. netted her just around $300,000 in stocks and just over $26,000 in cash.
But that’s just the beginning of her questionable nomination concerns. Bertagnolli also opposed the “Most Favored Nation” Trump administration proposal, which was aimed at lowering prescription drug prices in the United States by tying the prices of certain drugs covered by Medicare to the lower prices paid for the same drugs in other countries. Under this plan, the United States would pay no more than the lowest price among those countries.
Supporters argued that it could lead to cost savings for American consumers and the government. However, it was met with fierce opposition from the pharmaceutical industry and Bertagnolli.
These conflict-of-interest concerns alone should disqualify Bertagnolli from candidacy, but there’s also her personal track record to consider. She has faced four medical malpractice cases, one of which was a wrongful death lawsuit.
One malpractice suit in 1996 involved using sutures instead of mesh in a botched hernia repair surgery. The patient required additional surgeries to correct the error, and Bertagnolli was witnessed asking her, “Didn’t I put mesh inside of you?” before admitting, “How could I have forgotten to put mesh inside of you?” That suit resulted in a $450,000 settlement.
In 1999, a patient sued Bertagnolli for “severe and permanent injuries” from “negligent performance” during a paravaginal repair surgery, and the case was settled out of court.
Bertagnolli was also named in two missed cancer diagnoses, with one ending in a still-pending wrongful death lawsuit and the other settled out of court.
The AAF noted that malpractice lawsuits are not unusual, but the organization expressed concern over Bertagnolli’s cases, saying they are “alarming” and that they raise serious questions about her “medical abilities, supervisory skills, and temperament.”
If these issues weren’t bad enough on their own, consider that she has been nominated with the full endorsement of former NIAID director Anthony Fauci. The now-disgraced Fauci recommended the candidate for her “very solid academic record” and “leadership style.”
But Fauci himself has faced tough criticism over failed policies and draconian mandates during the COVID-19 pandemic, along with corruption implications and a lack of transparency regarding the origins of the virus. He has been closely linked with the same laboratories that were responsible for “leaking” the virus which destroyed the United States economy and cost the lives of an estimated 3 million persons worldwide.
President Joe Biden enthusiastically announced Bertagnolli’s nomination, heralding her as a “world-class physician-scientist whose vision and leadership will ensure NIH continues to be an engine of innovation to improve the health of the American people.”
If that vision includes continuing the legacy of dishonesty, corruption, and inadequacy of Fauci, Bertagnolli certainly does seem to be qualified, if not over-qualified.