With an election approaching, Joe Manchin has finally seen the light on the damage the opioid epidemic is doing in West Virginia. But during his time in the Senate, Manchin’s only response to the pharmaceutical industry has been to cash their checks to his campaign.
Manchin’s second biggest donor, Mylan, is a manufacturer of Fentanyl, one of the drugs most prevalent in overdose cases. Manchin has accepted at least $127,500 from Mylan over the course of his Senate career. But Manchin’s ties to the opioid pusher go much deeper than that. Mylan’s CEO is none other than Joe Manchin’s daughter, Heather Bresch. And as Mylan was investigated by Congress, Manchin asked his colleagues to be “open-minded and fair.” Even Manchin’s wife Gayle has gotten in on the family business, spearheading an effort to require the company’s products to be stocked by schools.
“While Joe Manchin was supposed to be looking out for West Virginians, he and his family instead are profiting handsomely from a fentanyl manufacturer,” said NRSC Spokesman Bob Salera. “No half-hearted election year change of heart is going to make up for years of Manchin buddying up to the pharmaceutical industry.”
Mylan’s CEO, Heather Bresch, is the daughter of Senator Joe Manchin. “The growing congressional scrutiny of pharmaceutical giant Mylan over the high cost of EpiPens could prove awkward for Sen. Joe Manchin. The West Virginia Democrat’s daughter, Heather Bresch, is chief executive of the company, which appears to have hiked the price of the epinephrine auto-injector by 400 percent since 2007. The device, which is used to treat severe allergic reactions, now costs more than $600 per dose.” (Catherine Ho, “CEO at center of EpiPen price hike controversy is Sen. Joe Manchin’s daughter,” Washington Post, 8/24/16)
A report from the Department of Health and Human Services showed that Mylan received overpayments from the federal government of $1.27 billion from 2006-2016. “Drug maker Mylan (MYL), which manufactures the allergy treatment EpiPen, found itself at the center of yet another controversy Wednesday, after the Department of Health and Human Services said the government may have overpaid the company by $1.27 billion from 2006-2016.) (Brittany De Lea, “Did EpiPen maker Mylan cheat taxpayers out of $1.27B?” Fox Business, 5/31/17)
As Mylan was investigated by Congress, Manchin encouraged his colleagues to be “open-minded and fair.” “Heather Bresch, Manchin’s daughter and Mylan’s chief executive officer, has come under fire from lawmakers, including many of his fellow Democrats, for her pricing decisions on the life-saving anti-allergy drug…‘The only thing you can ask is that people be open-minded and fair,’ Manchin said.” (Steven T. Dennis, “Mylan CEO Behind EpiPen Price Furor Praised by Senator Father,” Bloomberg Politics, 9/7/16)
As Mylan raised its prices, Manchin’s wife, Gayle Manchin, spearheaded an effort to require schools to buy the product. “After Gayle Manchin took over the National Association of State Boards of Education in 2012, she spearheaded an unprecedented effort that encouraged states to require schools to purchase medical devices that fight life-threatening allergic reactions…The CEO of Mylan then, and now, was Heather Bresch. Gayle Manchin is Heather Bresch’s mother…Mylan is the subject of congressional investigations related to huge price hikes the company announced last month. It also faces an antitrust probe by the New York attorney general stemming from its EpiPen sales contracts with schools.” (Jayne O’Donnell, “Family matters: EpiPens had high-level help getting into schools,” USA Today, 9/20/16)