Kyrsten Sinema receives thousands of campaign contributions from pharmaceutical giants while delaying prescription drug price reforms

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  • Kyrsten Sinema’s campaign received over $ 500,000 in campaign donations from the pharmaceutical industry.
  • The $ 3.5 trillion spending bill would save the United States “hundreds of billions” in health care spending.
  • Biotech company Amgen has donated $ 25,500 to Sinema and is one of its biggest backers.

Senator Kyrsten Sinema Arizona would oppose the current prescription drug price proposals in bills introduced by the House and Senate, as well as an alternative from House centrists that would limit drugs subject to Medicare negotiation, according to anonymous sources cited by Politico.

Sinema’s position blocked passage of the $ 3.5 trillion spending bill developed by the government. Biden the administration and its fellow Democrats, even if it could jeopardize its own bipartisan infrastructure bill. Washington Democratic Representative Pramila Jayapal has previously said the majority of the Progressive Congressional Caucus, which she chairs, will not vote for Sinema infrastructure bill without going through the expense package first.

If passed, the $ 3.5 trillion spending bill would lower the cost of some prescription drugs by instituting reforms and allowing Medicare to negotiate prices, which would save the federal government ” hundreds of billions ”on health care spending, according to a memo to Democratic senators.

Sinema is a “pharma favorite in Congress”

Since launching his political career, Sinema’s campaign committee has received more than $ 500,000 in donations from the pharmaceutical and health products industry, according to OpenSecrets.

Kaiser Health News called Sinema a “pharmaceutical favorite in Congress” after his campaign received $ 98,500 from PACs run by employees of pharmaceutical companies and their business groups during the 2019-20 election cycle.

One of its major funders has been Amgen, a biotechnology company that makes prescription drugs for people with conditions with limited treatment options, such as cancer patients and people with illnesses. chronic.

Insider has contacted Sinema and his team but has not received a response.

Many prescription drugs manufactured by Amgen have high prices. Overall, the company achieved $ 24.24 billion in global product sales in 2020.

Amgen did not respond to inquiries about whether she had lobbied Sinema over prescription drug pricing reforms or how passing the bill would impact the company’s bottom line. In 2021, Amgen spent $ 4.72 million lobbying congressional officials on 17 bills, the majority of which deal with issues related to prescription drug pricing, according to OpenSecrets.

A super PAC with links to the pharmaceutical industry funded a recent Sinema ad

According to Google’s Transparency Report, a September 9 political ad for Sinema was paid for by Center Forward, a super PAC dedicated to supporting the election of centrist Democrats, according to the Washington Post.

In its registration with the Washington, DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, Center Forward lists Libby Greer and Cindy Brown of lobbying firm Forbes Tate Partners as governors on its board of directors. Greer and Brown are lobbyists for several pharmaceutical companies, including Bayer, Gilead Sciences, Eli Lilly, Novartis, Amgen and Merck & Co, according to documents obtained by the Daily Poster and reviewed by Insider.

Greer and Brown did not respond to inquiries about the extent of their involvement in Sinema’s political ads. Center Forward Executive Director Cori Kramer Smith said day-to-day operations, programming and messaging are outside the responsibilities of the board.

Merck was the second-largest pharmaceutical industry contributor to Sinema’s campaign, donating $ 20,500 to its campaign committee and PAC leadership between 2015 and 2020, according to Kaiser Health’s “Pharma Cash to Congress” tracker News.

Eli Joseph, the husband of Sinema’s chief of staff, Meg Joseph, worked as executive director of federal policy and government relations for Merck & Co. from 2012 to 2015, according to his LinkedIn. Meg Joseph’s LinkedIn also shows that she worked as a lobbyist from 2007 to 2008 at Clark & ​​Weinstock, which lobbied on behalf of several pharmaceutical companies and major industry trade groups during her tenure, reported Salon.

None of the Josephs responded to inquiries about their previous work as lobbyists or their ties to the pharmaceutical industry. Merck spokesman John Cummings said Eli Joseph looks after Senate business and is not involved in decisions about House contributions.

In addition to Sinema, four House Democrats are also opposed to the government’s direct negotiation of drug prices. Representatives Scott Peters, Kurt Schrader, Stephanie Murphy and Kathleen Rice voted against the proposed drug pricing provision on September 15, though it was approved later today by the Ways and Means Committee, reported the Los Angeles Times.


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