Restore Public Trust Launches Campaign to Expose the Trump Administration’s Revolving Door with Big Pharma
WASHINGTON — As drug prices continue to skyrocket, government accountability group Restore Public Trust today launched a new campaign to expose why the American public can’t trust the Trump administration’s empty rhetoric on lowering drug prices. As a first step in the campaign, Restore Public Trust launched a website, BigPharmasBestFriends.org, which details sixteen current or former Trump administration officials who previously worked for or with the pharmaceutical industry. In addition, RPT is launching a 5-figure digital buy featuring a video that highlights tax breaks for pharmaceutical companies. In coming months, Restore Public Trust will release additional research on the Trump administration’s ties to the industry, and will work to educate the American public on the administration’s hollow efforts to lower drug prices.
“It’s no surprise that drug prices continue to skyrocket on the Trump administration’s watch,” said Lizzy Price, spokesperson for Restore Public Trust. “Trump and Secretary Azar have talked a big game about lowering drug prices, but they simply haven’t delivered. Trump’s pharma hires into key positions are one reason why.”
“Ties between the drug industry and the administration pose a clear conflict of interest,” continued Price. “The American people deserve to know whose bottom line government employees are looking out for – American families’ or their buddies in the pharmaceutical industry?”
Restore Public Trust’s new website, BigPharmasBestFriends.org, reveals sixteen Trump administration officials who have made almost $6 million from the pharmaceutical industry while everyday Americans struggle to find the money for lifesaving drugs they need. Among them are HHS Secretary Alex Azar, an executive of Eli Lilly when the company increased the price of Humalog, a top-selling insulin, by 345%, and Acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless, who co-founded G1 Therapeutics and owned at least $6 million in assets, and whose former company’s stock soared after their drug was fast-tracked by the FDA, just weeks after Sharpless was named to the position.
In 2019 alone there were:
- At least 19 pharmaceutical companies and lobbying groups represented in the Trump administration;
- At least five high-ranking Trump administration employees who were former pharmaceutical company lobbyists;
- At least four Trump administration employees who previously provided legal services to pharmaceutical and healthcare companies; and
- At least one Trump administration official who left the administration to go work at a pharmaceutical company.
This new campaign builds on previous work by Restore Public Trust to call attention to the administration’s ties to the pharmaceutical industry. In February, Restore Public Trust launched a five-figure TV ad buy targeting Secretary Azar’s history as a pharmaceutical insider. The organization also blasted Azar in a full-page print ad in POLITICO ahead of a congressional hearing on skyrocketing insulin prices and a digital ad spotlighting his background as a drug company executive. Restore Public Trust plans to continue this campaign with the release of even more in-depth research in the coming months.
A recent report released by Restore Public Trust found:
- During Azar’s tenure at Eli Lilly, the cost of Diabetes medication Humalog, its top-selling insulin, went from $74 a vial to $269 a vial.
- Eli Lilly increased the price of insulin by 450% above inflation while Azar was at the company.
- Attorneys general in several states are reportedly investigating insulin drug pricing by Eli Lilly including charges of price fixing that would have occurred during Azar’s tenure.
- Eli Lilly is named as a defendant in a class action lawsuit alleging price fixing during Azar’s tenure.