Stop the Big Pharma giveaway bill
In a powerful Senate floor speech on Tuesday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren exposed the corporate hijacking that turned a medical innovation bill into one with “huge giveaways to giant drug companies.”
The 21st Century Cures bill is a massive boon to Big Pharma. Once a bipartisan bill to encourage medical innovation, Big Pharma cronies have loaded it down with handouts and special favors for pharmaceutical corporations, Republican donors and the gun lobby. Republicans and corporate Democrats are now trying to ram the bill through in the lame-duck session of Congress. Now that the House has passed the bill, our best hope is a united front of opposition in the Senate.
If Democrats want to show that they are serious about changing a system rigged against everyday Americans, they need to start by fiercely and unanimously opposing this bill.
This legislation includes a giveaway to the gun lobby and slashes money from Medicare and the Affordable Care Act. It includes barely a drop of funding for the National Institutes of Health, even though Republicans have been choking off medical research in America for years. But the worst of all is the giveaway for Big Pharma:
- Special favors. A major Republican donor and financial supporter of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will be allowed to sell medical therapies without waiting for a safety check from the Food and Drug Administration.
- Fraud. If this bill passes, Big Pharma could market drugs as cures for all sorts of symptoms, not for the uses that were approved by the FDA. That sort of fraud puts people at risk.
Corporate puppets in Congress who support this bill are hiding behind misinformation. They claim it includes funding to stop the opioid epidemic, even though that funding depends on future Congresses authorizing it. They point to some of the good, bipartisan changes in the law — including some written by Sen. Warren herself — but ignore the way the bill has been hijacked to become a massive giveaway to powerful interests.
Americans are sick and tired of a system where powerful interests set the rules and big corporations get sweetheart deals. Sen. Warren knows this — but it is up to us to make sure other Senate Democrats get the message.
Big Pharma’s allies in Congress are desperate to paint these handouts as bipartisan legislation, and too many Democrats are chasing fake compromise instead of standing with their constituents. As Sen. Warren put it:
“Compromise is putting together common-sense health proposals supported by Democrats, by Republicans, and by most of the American people, and passing them into law. Extortion is holding those exact same proposals hostage unless everyone agrees to special favors for campaign donors and giveaways to the richest drug companies in the world … The majority of voters supported Democratic Senate candidates over Republicans ones, and the majority supported a Democratic Presidential candidate over a Republican one. The American people didn’t give Democrats majority support so we could come back to Washington and play dead. They didn’t send us here to whimper, whine, or grovel. They sent us here to say NO to efforts to sell Congress to the highest bidder.”
To make sure Democrats stand strong and united, we need a massive outcry as soon as possible. Stand with Sen. Warren: Stop the Big Pharma giveaway bill.
Originally published at act.credoaction.com.