Fred Eshelman

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Fred Eshelman is the CEO of Pharmaceutical Product Development, Inc., (PPD) and the president and primary financial supporter of Real Jobs NC, Inc., a 527 political action committee described as a "conservative attack machine" by NC Policy Watch[1]. In addiion to Real Jobs NC, Eshelman is the primary financial supporter of RightChange.Com[2], another right-wing 527 corporation. Eshelman is one of the wealthiest supporters of right-wing causes in North Carolina, eclipsed only by Art Pope. Like others of his ilk, Eshelman advocates Reaganomics and laissez faire business policies. In addition to political controversy, Eshelman has been at the center of Congressional investigations into the drug Ketek. PPD was responsible for testing the drug, and some of their data was proven to be false. Ketek caused severe liver damage (hepatotoxicity) and patient fatalities. According to federal investigations into the Ketek Scandal, the testing conducted by Eshelman's firm was deeply corrupted by fraud.[3]

NC Policy Watch Investigation

According to NC Policy Watch, the federal government has awarded Eshelman's firm, PPD, over $600,000,000 in grants and contracts over the past twelve years, an average of $50 million per year, or $1 million per week. These massive federal grants have done little to inhibit Eshelman and his advocacy groups from campaigning against profligate federal spending.[4] Investigation

In 2008, determined that had spent $3 million on a series of inaccurate and apparently deceptive television ads accusing Barack Obama of policies that were found to be "false."[5] discovered that Eshelman had maxed out to John McCain and that was controlled by a group of Republican politicians and Eshelman. quoted tax expert, Gerald Prante, who wrote, "This is so ridiculous that I'm almost at a loss for words. The people behind this ad are either downright deceitful or too stupid to understand [marginal tax rates]; and given what else they are putting out ... I don't know which it is."[6] Investigation

Concerning Eshelman's contributions to right-wing causes in the 2010 election cycle, published a figure of $3,380,125 in contributions to alone. The hard-hitting negative advertisements Eshelman financed opposed Republican-turned-independent Senate candidate Charlie Crist in Florida, as well as Democratic Senate candidates in several states, including Robin Carnahan in Missouri, Paul Hodes in New Hampshire, Lee Fisher in Ohio, Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Jack Conway in Kentucky and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.). [7]

Congressional Investigation into the Ketek Scandal

Pharmalot, a subsidiary of, published an account of Eshelman's political and academic philanthropy. After Eshelman provided a $30 million donation to the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, the university named its school of pharmacy after him. Pharmalot noted that Eshelman's political action committees were running advertising critical of Barack Obama.

Probing further into Eshelman's business dealings, Pharmalot reported that Eshelman had been at the center of a federal investigation into the effects of the drug, Ketek, an antibiotic that causes liver problems. Eshelman was compellet to appear before a Congressional Committee and to submit testimony to the role of PPD in the testing program for Ketek. Eshelman's firm had supervised the role of a medical doctor who participated in the clinical trial who was prosecuted and convicted and sent to prison for submitting false data to the clinical trials. Eshelman's firm had been paid $20 million to run the trial. Although PPD was aware of the false data provided by the doctor, Eshelman testified that his firm had no responsibility to inform the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) due to confidentiality agreements.[8]

Patient fatalities were linked to the drug, and the FDA probed what would come to be known as "The Ketek Debacle." Eshelman's testimony to the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce was videotaped and is readily available as a source for the scandal. (See sources below)

Some Sources on Fred Eshelman

NC PolicyWatch: The Progressive Pulse - The Eshelman Tapes - VideoTapes of Fred Eshelman's Testimony before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce; Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, February 12, 2008, Chairman Bart Stupak presiding.

CBS News: Hey, Big Spender! Fred Eshelman Donates Over $3M to Conservative Group (Eshelman contributes $3.38 million to

Open Secrets: Chief Executive of Pharmaceutical Research Company Bankrolls Scores of Last-Minute Attacks on Democrats - Eshelman backs RightChange to finance a negative campaigns to support Republican candidates for the Senate.

Wikipedia: The Ketek Debacle