Yesterday, Cornyn let the truth slip out when he admitted that he has concerns with Becerra’s lack of ties to the pharmaceutical industry

Cornyn has taken over $1 million from Big Pharma and continued to protect pharmaceutical companies in Congress—even reversing his vote after a PhRMA lobbying campaign

Washington, DC – Senator Cornyn admitted yesterday that his concerns with President-elect Biden’s HHS nominee, Xavier Becerra, are due to the fact that Becerra is not in the pocket of Big Pharma. Cornyn has taken over $1 million from the pharmaceutical industry and loyally did their bidding in Congress for years, even gutting his own bill that would have held drug companies accountable and changing his vote on a generic drug bill following heavy lobbying and contributions from the pharmaceutical industry. Cornyn has also fought tooth and nail to rip away health care from millions of Americans and worked to gut protections for people with pre-existing conditions. As Attorney General, Becerra held drug companies accountable for their role in the opioid crisis and fought to protect Americans’ access to health care.

“Senator Cornyn said the quiet part out loud: he was happy to jam Secretary Azar through the Senate because he came from Big Pharma and he looked out for Big Pharma interests,” said Mairead Lynn, spokesperson for Accountable.US Senate War Room. “Cornyn, a loyal foot soldier of the drug companies, is worried about Xavier Becerra because he’s been standing up for patients and taking on special interests like the pharmaceutical industry.”

Cornyn’s history with Big Pharma below:

Cornyn Has Taken More Than $1M In Pharma Industry Contributions. Over his career, Sen. Cornyn has taken $1,057,489 in contributions from the pharmaceutical industry. [OpenSecrets, accessed 12/8/20]

Cornyn’s Former Chief Of Staff Is A Pharma Lobbyist. “Among those to give to Cornyn during that time was Monica Popp, his former chief of staff who’s now registered to lobby on behalf of interests in the pharmaceutical industry.” [Dallas Morning News, 10/11/19] 

Headline: Salon: “GOP Sen. John Cornyn’s ex-staffers lobbied for pharma giant accused of price-gouging COVID drugs.” [Salon, 9/2/20]

Houston Chronicle: Cornyn “Abruptly Changed His “Aye” Vote” On Bill That Aimed To Bring Affordable Generic Drugs To Market. “Now a broad-based effort to hold down drug prices and bring new generic medications to the market has put Texas U.S. Sen. John Cornyn in the spotlight of a high-stakes lobbying battle as billions of dollars hangs in the balance for both investors and taxpayers. Cornyn, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, abruptly changed his “aye” vote several hours after a crucial Judiciary Committee meeting that advanced a bipartisan bill to increase generic competition. Cornyn’s switch to “nay” didn’t change the outcome of the 15-6 vote, but it signaled that consensus may still be difficult to reach in the Republican-controlled Congress.” [Houston Chronicle, 7/6/18] 

Headline: Houston Chronicle: “Cornyn votes no to generic drug bill amid lobbying battle.” [Houston Chronicle, 7/6/18]

PhRMA Lobbied Heavily Against Generics Legislation. “On one side is the principal pharmaceutical lobby known as PhRMA, which has spent nearly $36 million lobbying Congress in the last two years on behalf of makers of brand name drugs. … PhRMA executives, who have made tens of thousands of dollars in contributions to both Cornyn and Cruz, argue that generics already account for 90 percent of the prescriptions dispensed in the U.S., a higher percentage than in most other countries.” [Houston Chronicle, 7/6/18]

Cornyn Removed Language From A Bill He Introduced That Would Have Empowered FTC To Go After Drug Companies Following Pressure Campaign From Pharmaceutical Industry. “Take, for example, a recent about-face from Cornyn, the Texas Republican who took in some campaign cash alongside Tillis. …Cornyn introduced legislation soon after the skirmish to crack down on patent “thicketing,” a term for a drug company tactic to accumulate tens, if not hundreds, of patents to shield a drug from potential generic competition. Pharma sprung into action. They recruited congressional allies, including Tillis, to pressure Cornyn to significantly rework the bill, and they succeeded. The version of the bill that eventually cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee was stripped of language that would have empowered the Federal Trade Commission to go after patent thicketing. Instead, the bill limited how many patents a drug maker could assert in a patent lawsuit. The new version of the bill lost “a lot of teeth” and “solves a narrower problem in a narrow way,” advocates told STAT when the change was first introduced.” [STAT, 7/16/19]

Headline: Bloomberg Government: “Drug Industry Notches Win as Senator Rethinks Patent Measure.” [Bloomberg Government, 6/18/19]

In Two Months After Introducing The Initial Bill With The Enforcement Mechanism, Cornyn Received Nearly $30K In Pharma Contributions. “In just the two months after he introduced his bill, the senator received nearly $30,000 from the political action committees of drug makers who lobbied on the legislation or from lobbyists representing manufacturers on his bill, per campaign finance and lobbying records.” [Dallas Morning News, 10/11/19]

Headline: STAT: “3 reasons the drug industry should be worried about Biden’s HHS pick, Xavier Becerra.” [STAT News, 12/8/20]

Headline: Endpoints News: “After taking on pharma M&A, ‘pay-for-delay’ and Gilead’s remdesivir pricing, California AG tapped to lead HHS – reports.” [Endpoints News, 12/7/20] 

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