WASHINGTON — Sen. Bob Menendez doesn’t face reelection until 2024, but pharmaceutical executives are already flooding his campaign with cash — a sign of the central role he will play in deciding whether Democrats are able to pass substantial drug pricing reforms this year.
Since March, the New Jersey Democrat has received at least $1,000 from each of the CEOs of eight different drug companies: Pfizer, Merck, Eli Lilly, Bristol Myers Squibb, Genentech, UCB, Otsuka, and Sage Therapeutics, according to federal election disclosures. The Pfizer and Merck executives both personally gave Menendez $5,000 and $5,800, respectively. Top executives from Amgen and Lundbeck also wrote Menendez personal checks totaling $1,000 and $1,500.
Drug industry political action committees are also piling on the donations. Menendez pulled in a $5,000 donation from Sanofi’s corporate PAC on March 19, a $4,000 check from Gilead on March 31, and another $4,000 from Boehringer Ingelheim on March 29. Drug maker Sunovion gave Menendez $2,900 on March 26, as did Eisai, on March 31.
In any setting except government, this would be called bribery.
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