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Robert Menendez, Representing The Entire Pharmaceutical Industry, Slams The Dorgan Amendment

Today’s Senate vote on reimportation of prescription drugs will separate the public servants from the corporate whores in the Democratic caucus (I think the calculus for Republicans is a bit different – many of them may want to screw up the bill and are angry with Big PhRMa for all those pro-reform ads). There is no good reason to restrict Americans from getting the same access to the same drugs from companies manufacturing them in the same factories. The only real reason is to protect industry profits.

Enter Bob Menendez (D-Johnson & Johnson).

He is on the Senate floor arguing strongly against the Dorgan amendment, bringing up all kinds of scare tactics about how we wouldn’t know what was in our pill bottles and how safety is too important to allow these medications in the country. He even highlighted that FDA letter which warned of the difficulty in drug safety, and he raised all these concerns about counterfeit Tamiflu (um, which this amendment would remove the need for, because desperate people wouldn’t have to buy their drugs on the Internet and would have the opportunity for something affordable at their pharmacist).

I want you to take a look at this.

This is a list of all the pharmaceutical and biotech companies in Menendez’ home state of New Jersey. You will find virtually every major drugmaker with an outlet in the Garden State, including ImClone, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck, Johnson & Johnson, Abbott Laboratories, Bayer, and several dozen more. The pharmaceutical industry has provided Menendez hundreds of thousands of dollars over his short Senate career.

Menendez earlier voted with the drug industry and against Bill Nelson’s effort to fill the Medicare doughnut hole, while in the Senate Finance Committee. So this is not surprising.

Like I said, it’s good to know your friends and your enemies. The Dorgan amendment is turning out to have a very clarifying effect.

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David Dayen

David Dayen