Patrick Morrisey Is Still Raking In Cash From Big Pharma

“Patrick Morrisey is promising West Virginians he’ll ‘drain the swamp.’ What he’s not telling them is that he’s the swampiest of them all — perpetuating the ‘broken system’ he’s decried and accepting donations from lobbyists for the Big Pharma companies that flooded West Virginia with opioids,” said American Bridge spokesperson Amelia Penniman. “Morrisey has raked in over $1 million from Big Pharma. West Virginians can’t trust him to be on their side.”

 

Mother Jones: He’s Running as a Hero of the Opioid Epidemic. Here’s the Catch.

By Julia Lurie | July 13, 2018

  • “Patrick Morrisey—the West Virginia Republican running for US Senate—often brags that no one has done more than he has to address the state’s devastating opioid epidemic.”
  • “For many in his state, the issue is personal: West Virginia has the highest overdose rate in the country…So it’s no surprise that the epidemic is now at the center of one of the nation’s most high-profile elections.”
  • On the surface, Morrisey’s refrain of leading the fight to stop the epidemic makes sense. As attorney general, he sued the pharmaceutical distributors that flooded the state with millions of painkillers.”
  • “Morrisey contends that the crisis has been perpetuated by a broken health system. ‘There are too many financial incentives that are in place in the system that have caused this spiraling, out-of-control number of pills to land in all of our states…That has to end.’”
  • “But critics are quick to point out that Morrisey was already quite familiar with such incentives. Before he took over the lawsuits from his Democratic predecessor in 2013,Morrisey was a lawyer and lobbyist in Washington DC, representing some of the same companies he would later sue as attorney general.”
  • “In 2010 and 2011, Morrisey lobbied for the Healthcare Distribution Management Association, the industry group representing pharmaceutical distributors including Cardinal Health, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen. The group paid $250,000 for Morrisey’s work over a 16-month period.”
  • “Morrisey didn’t cut ties with the pharmaceutical industry when he was elected to office. His wife, Denise Henry Morrisey, lobbied for Cardinal Health, the state’s leading opioid supplier, from 1999 to 2016. As Patrick Morrisey was pursuing settlements with Cardinal, Denise Morrisey was lobbying federal lawmakers on behalf of the company on legislation that aimed to tighten regulation of hydrocodone. After Patrick Morrisey became attorney general, Cardinal Health paid Denise Morrisey and her lobbying firm $1.4 million.”
  • ‘Is there an appearance of a conflict of interest there?’ says Mike Pushkin, a Democratic state lawmaker, ‘I’d say so.’
  • “Now, pharmaceutical lobbyists are helping fund Morrisey’s campaign, according to Federal Election Commission data. Several pharmaceutical executives gave $2,700, the maximum donation that a campaign can use from an individual prior to a primary election.”
  • The contributions are striking in light of Morrisey’s promise ‘to not just change Washington’ but ‘blow it up and reinvent it,’ as he says in a campaign ad featuring a West Virginia mountain crushing the US capitol.”
  • Morrisey “is among the state attorneys general suing the US government on the grounds that last year’s tax reform rendered major parts of the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, unconstitutional.”
  • “As Pushkin, the Democratic lawmaker puts it, the [opioid] epidemic ‘will influence peoples’ votes because it influences every aspect of their lives.’

Read the full story here.