Former US surgeon general reveals extent of political pressure he was under

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: (Published 19 July 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:114
  1. Janice Hopkins Tanne
  1. New York

    A former US surgeon general told a Congressional committee last week that while he was in office he had been forbidden by the Bush administration to speak on topics such as stem cell research, emergency contraception, sex education, health of prisoners, mental health, secondhand smoking, and global health issues.

    Richard Carmona, the last surgeon general, told the House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that he had been instructed to mention President Bush three times on each page of his speeches, which were vetted by officials at the parent agency, the Department of Health and Human Services. Travel to conferences was prevented, and he was told not to attend the special Olympic games for disabled athletes, which were supported by the Kennedy family.

    When he wanted to issue information about mental health after the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the …

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