Yesterday, Bob McDonald, President Obama’s nominee to be the head of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA), faced no opposition in the first day of his Senate confirmation hearings.
The former head of Procter and Gamble told the Senate VA Committee that he would “bring corporate-style discipline and accountability to the troubled agency,” according to Reuters.
While that sounds all well and good, given the scandals and corruption that P&G have been involved in, the promise of his type of discipline will not prove beneficial to the already mismanaged VA.
On top of two false advertising lawsuits in the past 15 years, P&G was also involved in a price fixing scandal involving laundry detergent in eight European countries. P&G and Unilever were fined a combined $456 million in April 2011, and both companies admitted to the European Commission that they were running a cartel.
Procter and Gamble also came under fire in 2006, after a British doctor found that P&G was falsifying data regarding its osteoporosis drug, Actonel. Dr. Aubrey Blumsohn told congress that he was repeatedly denied access to data, despite the fact that P&G was using his name to publish abstracts on the effectiveness of the drug when compared to it’s competitor, Merck’s Fosamax.
When finally given the access that he had requested for 18 months, Blumsohn found that the 40 percent of one data set had been omitted. He was told by P&G officials that when the full data set was included, the results favored Fosamax. Blumsohn was then suspended by the university where he worked because he spoke out to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) about Procter and Gamble’s corruption.
If this is the type of “discipline and accountability” that McDonald plans to bring to the VA, an agency already plagued with scandals of falsified data of its own, the soldiers who rely on it could be in for more of the same corruption and dishonesty they’ve been facing for years.