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More Trouble For Nikki Haley’s Nephron Buddies




This website has long maintained that government shouldn’t be involved in the economic development business.  It is not government’s job to create jobs – it is government’s job to stay out of the way of the free market.  Taxes obviously must be collected to fund core functions of government, but those levies should be assessed fairly and in as unobtrusive a manner as possible.

And politically connected corporations should not be awarded breaks and benefits that are not available to everyone …

S.C. governor Nikki Haley used to generally agree with us on that point … but not anymore.

Anyway, last October this website published a sprawling exclusive on the status of Nephron Pharmaceuticals – one of Haley’s crowning crony capitalist “achievements.”  This company – which received millions in taxpayer-funded incentives from the state – recently built a gleaming new facility in West Columbia, S.C., where its leaders (donors and close friends of the governor) vowed to create 707 new positions (at more than $70,000 a pop).

FITS was suspicious of this deal from the beginning – and said so.  In fact, four years ago we published a detailed story regarding its questionable financials – and we also wrote extensively at the time about pay-to-play allegations involving Nephron and the governor.  Not only that, we busted Haley in a lie regarding her prior connections to the company’s founders – Bill Kennedy and his wife, Lou Kennedy (who have contributed thousands of dollars to Haley’s political campaigns and who frequently allowed Haley access to Nephron’s private jet).

Since our pièce de résistance was published, we’ve followed up with additional reporting on Nephron – which five years later has failed miserably to even approach its promised job creation (and salary) numbers.

The latest?

According to the website FiercePharma, Nephron is recalling more than 80,000 of its over-the-counter asthma inhalers due to “discoloration issues” – the latest in a long line of issues connected to Nephron’s dealings with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“The company’s website says (its) asthma product is FDA approved, but in 2013 it was not and the FDA issued a warning letter to the company saying so,” the website reported.  “It pointed out Nephron had never obtained an approved marketing application for the product.”

Not only that, FiercePharma reported that the agency has received “numerous FDA Adverse Event Reports” about Nephron’s asthma product since its September 2012 introduction.

“Those included reports of chest pain, nausea or vomiting, increased blood pressure, increased heart rate and possible hemoptysis,” the website reported.  “A week later it issued a warning to patients, doctors and caregivers saying many of the same things and pointing out the product at that point had never been evaluated by the FDA.”

Wow …

Again, herein lies the problem with trying to pick “winners and losers” in the economy: Sometimes you pick a loser.  Of course even when government picks a “winner,” other companies (and taxpayers) still end losing because they have to pick up the tab for the corporate welfare.

Haley used to “get” that …

Now?  Not so much … and all of us are paying the price for her failure.