She likes to bill herself as a champion of the little people, the common folk, the unwashed masses. But unlike her chief opponent, Hillary Clinton is one of the most bought-and-paid-for presidential candidates we’ve had in a number of election cycles.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is challenging Clinton for the Democrat presidential nomination, can rightfully boast that he’s not owned by entire industries the way the former U.S. senator and first lady is, and that is especially true of Big Pharma.
In fact, according to The Hill, the daily newspaper that covers Congress and the White House, Clinton is by far the largest recipient of drug money this election cycle.
As further reported by STAT, a national publication from Boston Globe Media Partners that launched last fall, though Clinton said during a recent interview she was proud to be an enemy of the drug companies, she is hypocritically taking huge sums of their money (by comparison, Sanders’ campaign returned a $2,700 contribution from that rat fink Martin Shkreli, the now-indicted CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, the company that hiked prices for a life-saving drug by 4,000 percent overnight.
As STAT reported further:
The Clinton campaign received far more money from the drug and medical device industries than any other presidential candidate in either party during the first six months of the campaign, according to figures compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. She accepted $164,315 during that period.
That massive figure does not include third-quarter contributions, which were being filed with the Federal Election Commission at the time of the report. While the donors mostly represent individuals who are affiliated with Big Pharma, they include at least two senior executives of a company that recently imposed massive drug price increases on patients.
Both Clinton and Sanders have promised to crack down on drug pricing, both for hard-to-treat diseases and medications in wide use that have been around for decades. The difference, obviously, is that Sanders is much more serious about the issue.
While Clinton has already laid out a plan to attack the drug companies, she has been accepting major contributions from individuals within the pharmaceutical industry (they, too, must think she isn’t serious). For instance, she has received contributions form two execs at Jazz Pharmaceuticals, which recently raised prices on a drug used to treat sleep disorders by 800 percent, from $2 a pill to $19.
Both of those executives, chief executive Bruce Cozadd and Robert McKague, a senior vice president, gave Clinton the maximum individual amount of $2,700.
Josh Schwerin, a Clinton spokesman, when asked whether his boss would continue to accept Big Pharma donations, said she is “committed to protecting consumers from drug companies who put profits ahead of people.” So, in other words, yes she will.
During a recent Democrat presidential debate when asked what enemies they were proudest of, Sanders and Clinton both said drug companies. But of course not all Democratic activists are buying Clinton’s so-called pledge.
“I do think she should give it back,” said Roger Hickey, co-director of Campaign for America’s Future, a liberal group that seeks to convince all presidential contenders to commit to battling rising drug prices. “She should show that she’s serious about cutting out the influence of the drug companies so she can be sure that her reforms will be fair.”
Continuing, he told STAT, “This is one of those issues where voters want to get beyond the sound bites. The Democratic Party has a sad history of saying one thing during election years and doing another when they’re in power.”
That said, the Sanders campaign has taken some money from people affiliated with Big Pharma – $8,346 during the first months of the campaign, all from individuals, though.
“We don’t accept pharmaceutical PAC checks. Never have. Never will. But if you work as a drug researcher or hold another job and support Bernie, we welcome your help,” said campaign spokesman Michael Briggs.