Big Pharma Is Betting on This Rookie Arizona Senator

Politics 2020/5/29

Big Pharma Is Betting on This Rookie Arizona Senator

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By Jay Hancock and Elizabeth Lucas, Kaiser Health News

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema formed a congressional caucus to raise “awareness of the benefits of personalized medicine” in February. Soon after that, employees of pharmaceutical companies donated $35,000 to her campaign committee.

Amgen gave $5,000. So did Genentech and Merck. Sanofi, Pfizer and Eli Lilly all gave $2,500. Each of those companies has invested heavily in personalized medicine, which promises individually tailored drugs that can cost a patient hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Sinema is a first-term Democrat from Arizona but has nonetheless emerged as a pharma favorite in Congress as the industry steers through a new political and economic landscape formed by the coronavirus.

She is a leading recipient of pharma campaign cash even though she’s not up for reelection until 2024 and lacks major committee or subcommittee leadership posts. For the 2019-20 election cycle through March, political action committees run by employees of drug companies and their trade groups gave her $98,500 in campaign funds, Kaiser Health News’ Pharma Cash to Congress database shows.

That stands out in a Congress in which a third of the members got no pharma cash for the period and half of those who did got $10,000 or less. The contributi

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