Congressman refuses to address the $10K he’s accepted from EpiPen’s PAC
When asked to respond to his challenger’s call for him to return the $10K he’s accepted from Mylan Pharmaceuticals,the manufacturer of EpiPen, the lifesaving emergency treatment for anaphylactic shock, Congressman Frank Pallone blamed the 400% wholesale price increase for the drug on congressional Republicans.
“It’s outrageous that drug companies like Mylan continue to dramatically increase the cost of lifesaving drugs, and this is just the latest example of why Congress needs to tackle the overall problem. I’ve been a longtime and outspoken advocate for Congress and my committee to address this issue, but, unfortunately, the Republican majority has repeatedly refused to work with us to solve this problem. We must find a solution to ensure that American’s aren’t subject to the whims of bad actors in the Bio-Pharmaceutical Industry,” Pallone’s statement to Observer read. (emphasis added)
Pallone is the ranking Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Here’s what his Republican colleagues on the committee have to say about Mylan’s price gouging:
Congressman Fred Upton of Michigan, the Republican Chairman of the committee told a Michigan TV news show, ” “EpiPens are a critical and often only option for saving kids from the brink of death during severe allergic reactions. And the soaring costs that patients are now facing for EpiPen Auto-Injectors is cause for alarm. We have been concerned about rising costs patients are facing for some prescription drugs. We are taking a hard look at the specifics behind this and have pressed Mylan for concrete answers. … As kids here in Southwest Michigan head back to school, it’s important that they are safe and have the resources to treat life-threatening allergies.”
Congressman Tim Murphy (R-PA), Chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, and whose district is the home of Mylan’s U.S. headquarters said, ““Our main focus is on making sure that this emergency medication is affordable and accessible where needed and we will be looking deeper into what is responsible for these price increases.”
Health Subcommittee Chairman Joseph Pitts (R-PA) said, “EpiPens are lifesaving medication that people have come to rely on. It is imperative that people are able to have access to this medicine – and that includes ensuring it is affordable for the patients that need it. We will continue to dig deeper into this issue so patients can rest easy
In 2013, Pallone’s 25th year in congress, the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act passed in both the House and Senate before being signed into law by President Barack Obama. Representative David Roe, a Republican from Tennessee was the primary sponsor of the bill in the House. There were 36 co-sponsors, both Democrats and Republicans. Frank Pallone was NOT one of the co-sponsors. The bill passed the House on a voice vote on July 30, 2013 with no record of how individual Representatives voted. But Pallone did not vote an any of the other bills in the House that day. He was in Long Branch at a Veteran’s Job Fair the day before. Just two weeks prior, on July 17, 2013, Pallone accepted $2000 from Mylan’s PAC.
Three months earlier, in April of 2013, an eight year old Old Bridge boy died from anaphylactic shock. Old Bridge is part of Pallone’s district.
In 2009, Pallone 21st year in congress, the Democrats were the majority. Phony was the Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health. On July 9, 2009, Pallone said of the Bio-Pharma Industry (and Hospital Industry):
“I am proud that the biopharmaceutical and hospital industry have chosen to play such an important part in supporting the effort to reform health care in the United States. These industry contributions will ensure that every American can attain and afford life-saving medicines and quality medical care. I particularly appreciate the work of the New Jersey biopharmaceutical companies for their leadership in producing this agreement, as well as their contribution to my home state’s workforce and economy.
“I applaud the hospital industry and the biopharmaceutical industry for their willingness to work with me and the Obama Administration on achieving meaningful health care reform and for offering these first real private-sector contributions to reforming America’s health care system. I appreciate their leadership and look forward to working with the biopharmaceutical and hospital industries to find common ground as we draft health care legislation in the House.”
Just two months ago, on June 3, Pallone and Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman held a roundtable in Plainsboro with representatives of the Bio-Pharma Industry. This is what he had to say about them:
“While many people tend to think about innovation as an exclusive product of the high-tech sector, the cutting-edge work in the biotech industry is also paving the way for America’s 21st century economy,” said Pallone. “It’s been an honor to hear from companies creating jobs and making a real difference in the lives of people in New Jersey, and Congresswoman Watson Coleman and I look forward to bringing these ideas back to Washington. I’m also pleased we were able to discuss the importance of diversity in these growing fields. We know that diverse voices and diverse minds lead to better ideas and ultimately a stronger economy.”
Frank Pallone has not been a “longtime and outspoken critic” of bad actors in the Bio-Pharma Industry. He’s been the beneficiary of their largess and he has carefully avoided cutting off the cash flow.