Sen. Cory Booker tries to shake pharma ties ahead of potential 2020 run

Alyssa Rege - Print  | 

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., who is rumored to enter the 2020 presidential race, is working to dispel notions about his connections to the pharmaceutical industry, The Hill reports.

In a joint press conference with Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., on Jan. 10, Mr. Booker spoke out against the pharma industry and the "outrageous and unjustifiably high cost of prescription drugs." While his efforts were lauded, some critics argued that Mr. Booker has not been tough enough on pharma companies or on corporations in general, including Wall Street.

"It is meaningful that [Mr. Booker] recognized the error of his ways and has come in support of some important reforms of the pharmaceutical industry," an executive with the progressive group Democracy for America told The Hill. "But there's overriding concern about Cory Booker's willingness to confront corporate power in all of its forms."

Mr. Booker raised the most money from the pharma industry of any senator in 2014, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics cited by The Hill. Mr. Booker ran in two elections that cycle, as there was a special election in 2013. In 2017, he said he was pausing contributions from drug companies, and he officially stopped accepting donations from all corporate PACs in 2018.

"We have an industry right now that has been able to stop the government from negotiating fairer prices, from using our market leverage to negotiate fairer prices," Mr. Booker said during the Jan. 11 press conference. "That's outrageous. And so to what Sen. Sanders has said and some of my congressional colleagues have said: Enough is enough."

To access the full report, click here.

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