Friday, September 23, 2016

In Pharma PAC-Land, This 2016 Cycle Has Been Unlike Any In Recent Memory -- In Fracturing Members Of PhRMA

This morning, a local New Jersey outlet is explaining how Merck's PAC (in breaking with prior practice, and locking arms with Lockheed -- another big NJ employer -- and defense contractor) did not contribute to the Republican Fund for its Nominating Convention, in Cleveland in 2016. I obviously think that was not a snub of the city, or the fine people of Cleveland(!), or the RNC generally, as the Merck PAC did donate to lots of both GOP and Democratic Senate and House candidates this cycle. As did Pfizer, to be fair.

No, I think Kenilworth's PAC was expressing an opinion (by its omission) on the nominee, himself. I've used the press report as a springboard for a slightly different (but to me, more interesting and nuanced) story -- comparing Merck to Pfizer, led by Ian C. Read -- and that PAC's 2016 patterns.

As my graphic indicates, Pfizer's PAC showed no such compunction. Which is a bit odd, given that both Presidential candidates call Manhattan home (also Pfizer's HQ location). Near as I can tell, the Pfizer PAC did not donate to the Democratic Convention Fund -- at all. In 2012, Pfizer favored Mitt Romney over President Obama (oops, on that!), in this regard -- while Merck made equalized donations.

If Mr. Read is sending a message to HRC, here -- about her stated positions on pharma price reform measures, I'd gauge that mission as decidedly "ill-starred". I'm on record, and remain so -- HRC will be our 45th President. And Merck is wisely looking to partner with her, in a constructive dialogue.

[Ever one to hedge my bets. . . I'm not all the way down with moving my practice, and relaxed life generally, to Europe for four years, should the Trumpkin prevail -- but I could pretty effortlessly do that -- seriously considering it, only to the extent that he has any plausible chance of being elected. Sheesh.] In any event, here's a bit from the short article:

. . . .Merck & Co. and Lockheed Martin, who each gave $250,000 to the host committee helping to stage the Republican National Convention four years ago, kept their corporate checkbooks closed this time around when the party gathered in Cleveland to nominate Donald Trump. [My editorial note: To be fair, the GOP Convention in 2012 was held in an important power-base, for both Lockheed and Merck. Not so, Cleveland. . . .]

The companies were absent from the list of contributors that gave $67.4 million to the Cleveland host committee, according to Federal Election Commission filings. . . .

I'll likely offer a few more of these socio-political out-takes, given that we are now in the home stretch of Election Cycle 2016.

In addition, my masthead pull-quotes will almost uniformly express disdain for the Republican nominee's disrespect for our constitutional rights (except the Second Amendment, of course!), abandoning our core founding values -- of pluralism and inclusion, of peoples from all over the globe. Moreover, I am deeply troubled by Mr. Trump's open hostility to our citizenry of color (praising aggressive "stop and frisk" operations under then NYC Mayor Rudy Guiliani, which have since been held unconstitutional -- as violative of the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection clause -- i.e., it turned out that 83 per cent of those stopped and frisked were people of color -- so Mr. Trump's message here is plain -- and disgusting).

Whew. Even so, I enter the weekend with a crinkle-eyed grin. . . out, for some fun!


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