Michigan Republican John James Dings Opponent Debbie Stabenow For Taking Money From Drug Industry She Claims To Fight

Evie Fordham | Politics and Health Care Reporter

Michigan Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow was called out by Republican challenger John James’s campaign for the disconnect in her anti-big pharma rhetoric and the roughly $400,000 she has received in campaign contributions from the drug industry.

Stabenow published an ad about her opposition to high drug prices on YouTube July 21.

“I’ve been very frustrated we’ve not been able to lower the price of prescription drugs,” Stabenow said in the ad. “Why? Because there are more drug company lobbyists than there are any other kind of lobbyists. The worst part of our system is when money gets ahead of people.”

“Despite Stabenow’s seemingly tough rhetoric against prescription drug prices going back to 2002, her 43 years in politics, and nearly $4 million in salary from the taxpayers, she’s done nothing to reform prescription drug costs outside of accepting the industry’s campaign contributions,” James’s campaign manager Tori Sachs said.

Stabenow campaigned on promises to hold big pharma accountable when she won her seat in 2000, according to The New York Times in 2002. Since her first election to Senate, she and her campaign have accepted $399,567 from the pharmaceutical and health products lobby, according to OpenSecrets.org.

“We have an industry that is the most profitable in the world,” Stabenow said in 2002, according to The NYT. “But when an industry is allowed to make 18 to 20 percent a year, at the same time it’s raising prices three times the rate of inflation, and people who need life-saving medicine cannot afford it, I think it’s time to ask where the corporate responsibility is.” (RELATED: Website Guru Plans To Revive Gawker With Publisher From Dwindling Tech Site The Outline)

Stabenow’s campaign took at least $16,000 from Mylan PAC between 2005 and 2007. Mylan is known as the company that increased prices nearly 500 percent for its anti-allergic reaction treatment EpiPen.

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