BY: Follow @lachlan
Drug companies that have donated to Hillary Clinton’s foundation received most of the contract money from an international tuberculosis initiative after the foundation was brought on to manage the initiative’s procurement operation, public records show.
Two of every three dollars spent acquiring anti-tuberculosis drugs through the program, which is administered by the World Bank, have gone to two companies—Swiss health care giant Novartis and Indian drug company Lupin Ltd.—that together have donated up to $130,000 to the Clinton Foundation.
Clinton and her allies have pointed to the foundation’s international charitable work to deflect allegations of cronyism. However, the millions of dollars in contracts awarded to the two drug companies illustrate how foundation donors profited from laudable causes.
“The Clinton Foundation is providing technical support to the program through the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), focusing on anti-TB drug procurement, markets, and quality, particularly multi-drug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) drugs,” the World Bank wrote in a 2013 report.
Another section of the report said the Clinton Foundation worked on “anti-TB drug quality and pricing.”
The World Bank collaborated with the Clinton Foundation from “2006 to date,” the report said. The project focused on reducing the incidence of TB in India, where the disease kills hundreds of thousands of people each year.
The project, dubbed the Second National Tuberculosis Control Project (SNTCP), is financed by the World Bank’s International Development Association, which receives the bulk of its funding from the United States, Britain, Japan, and Germany.
An online database of procurement data for the SNTCP lists 23 contracts totaling more than $39 million for TB drugs awarded between 2007 and 2012.
Lupin received eight of those contracts, worth nearly $20 million. Novartis’s Indian arm got a $2.2 million contract while its generic drug subsidiary, Sandoz Ltd., was awarded a contract worth nearly $6 million.
The website does not disclose when the companies made those contributions. A foundation spokesman did not respond to a request for comment. The Clinton campaign also did not return a request for comment.
The two companies and their subsidiaries received about 68 percent of all money awarded to SNTCP contractors for TB drug procurement, according to the World Bank’s website.
The website says that Novartis India’s contract and six of Lupin’s contracts were awarded through a competitive bidding process. Sandoz’s contract and two of Lupin’s contracts were subject to “limited international bidding.”
Clinton has pointed to her foundation’s work in promoting access to pharmaceuticals in the developing world as an example of its laudatory humanitarian mission.
However, critics have noted how beneficiaries of other foundation-backed pharmaceutical access programs have made large financial contributions to the group. Companies that received funds from the foundation to provide low-cost HIV drugs, for instance, were donors to the foundation.
In many cases, the same companies were also lobbying the State Department for lucrative international health contracts while Clinton was secretary of state.
Despite years of collaboration with the industry, Clinton has described pharmaceutical companies as her “enemies,” even as lobbyists for the industry bankroll her presidential campaign.