When Donald Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, approached Novartis (NVS) early last year to provide access to the new Trump administration, the company’s response was tone-deaf. But it was hardly a surprise.
The personal lawyer and “fixer” for the president came knocking as big drug makers were anxious about the future, since candidate Trump had lambasted them for through-the-roof prices. So former Novartis chief executive Joe Jimenez quickly authorized a one-year, $1.2 million deal. This was considerably more than Novartis typically paid Washington lobbyists. And it wasn’t for Cohen’s policy expertise — he knew nothing about health care.