Politics

Milne calls on Leahy to donate cash from embattled drugmaker

[R]epublican U.S. Senate hopeful Scott Milne is calling on his opponent, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., to donate campaign contributions he has received from the pharmaceutical company Mylan over the last two election cycles.

The company has been under intense public scrutiny recently for increases in EpiPen prices.

Scott Milne speaks at Monday's news conference. Photo by Anne Galloway/VTDigger

Scott Milne speaks at a news conference. File photo by Anne Galloway/VTDigger

Leahy has emerged as a critic of Mylan’s pricing of the drug, which treats severe allergic reactions. Its list price has jumped from $100 in 2007 to $600 currently, according to The New York Times.

Financial disclosures filed with the Federal Election Commission show that Leahy’s campaign committee has accepted money from Mylan.

Documents provided by the Milne campaign from 2009, 2015 and 2016 show that Mylan and its CEO donated money to Leahy’s committee and to a political action committee that supports him — the Leahy Green Mountain Committee — at least six times.

The most recent donation from Mylan to the Leahy Green Mountain Committee was March 18 for $1,500.

On Oct. 2, Leahy’s campaign committee and the PAC each received $3,500 from Mylan.

Milne called for Leahy to donate the money from Mylan to Food Allergy Research and Education, an organization focused on food allergies.

“Sen. Leahy can talk a big game when it comes to Mylan’s obscene and immoral price increases for EpiPen, but unless he immediately rids himself of the over $20,000 he gladly accepted from Mylan then that’s all it is — talk,” Milne said in a statement.

In an emailed statement Wednesday afternoon, Leahy spokesman Jay Tilton charged that Milne “is continuing to run his campaign by press release.”

Tilton said Mylan employs nearly 500 in Franklin County, and he added that the St. Albans facility does not produce the EpiPen. He referred to Leahy’s record on the issue.

“Sen. Leahy has criticized Mylan’s pricing of the EpiPen and is currently helping to lead a bipartisan effort in the Senate to address this unconscionable price hike,” Tilton said. “Sen. Leahy has also long pushed for easier access to generic drugs.”

Asked by phone if Leahy will donate Mylan’s campaign contributions, Tilton referred to the statement.

“Sen. Leahy will do what he has always done and report every penny that he raises and spends to run his campaign,” Tilton said.

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