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Get on the Bus For only $4 million to $5 million your state can have its very own mobile hospital. At least that’s what PanFlu, a Rockville, Md.-based marketer and distributor of the MED-1 unit, is planning. PanFlu is so passionate about its product it’s hired Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld along with Foley Hoag to seek federal support for deployment of its mobile hospital units for emergency and pandemic responses. Developed with Department of Homeland Security grants, the MED-1 unit prototype (another one is currently in production but does not have a buyer) has been deployed twice: to Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina and to New Orleans earlier this year for Mardi Gras. The 53-foot tractor-trailer expands out into three pods and includes an operating room, a critical-care area with four fully monitored beds, and an additional space that serves as an acute-care facility. A second unit deployed along with MED-1 carries beds and hospital equipment. PanFlu is planning to display the prototype on Capitol Hill next month. “We want to expand this program,” says Jeff Fischer, managing director at PanFlu. “We only have one. That’s great if you only have one disaster. But as we saw with Katrina, it wasn’t enough to take care of one community.” Fischer says that PanFlu wants 450 to 500 mobile hospitals deployed across the country. He says the company that manufactures the unit, Charlotte, N.C.-based Odell International, can have them built within four months of an order being placed. Working on the account for Foley Hoag is David Mohler, the former vice president of congressional relations for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. And lending a hand at Akin Gump is Ladd Wiley, a former counselor to ex-Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson. — Joe Crea
Ask a Lobbyist Wonkette, the gossipy, satirical Web site operated by Gawker Media, has kicked off a new feature titled “Ask a Lobbyist.” The anonymous author of the site, purportedly, is a Beltway insider. The first installment features a set of three questions, the first being, “What does a lobbyist do, exactly?” One of the lone quotable answers provided is that lobbyists “were sleazebags that hung out in the lobby of the Willard . . . ” The rest of the answer is a litany of lewd refrains. Bribery is the central theme. And on that subject, the blogger implies it’s ubiquitous and artfully done, only to then relent at the end and offer: “Really, it’s not about bribing a Congress member. Most of them have this vague idea that taking bribes might cause them to lose an election. Their staff, on the other hand . . . are completely self-interested and bribe-able.” — Nathan Carlile
Gotta Have Heart The American Heart Association is seeking regulatory policy for trans fatty acids, lipids naturally occurring in some animal products that are chemically created to preserve the shelf life of many processed foods, such as crackers and baked goods. The 82-year-old association hired Judith Dausch as a regulatory affairs analyst for trans fat-related work. “We’re a society going to evidence-based practice,” says Dausch, who will start working for the association on Sept. 5. “You have to be able to show that for a particular intervention or treatment there will be a certain outcome associated with it. The science has to be there, and that body of evidence is still accumulating for trans fat.” A Food and Drug Administration rule requiring manufacturers to list trans fats on the Nutrition Facts panel of their foods went into effect in January. Though many scientific studies show a link between trans fats and heart disease, the FDA says few have provided a reference value that would permit the agency to establish a “Daily Reference Value” for such fats. Dausch was the senior manager for regulatory affairs at the American Dietetic Association, where she worked on trans fats. She describes lobbying on regulatory matters as very “behind-the-scenes kind of work” involving agencies such as the FDA and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “They rely on us heavily to fill the gaps for them,” Dausch says. — Joe Crea

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