Jacky Rosen Pledges To Combat Overpriced Drugs as She Rakes In Cash From Big Pharma

Sen. Jacky Rosen (Getty Images)
May 1, 2024

Sen. Jacky Rosen boasts that she "took on big drug companies" to stop them from jacking up prices. The Nevada Democrat also took on close to a quarter million dollars in donations from those same companies.

Since winning her first term in the Senate in 2018, Rosen has raked in nearly $250,000 in campaign contributions from a group of 25 pharmaceutical political action committees, campaign finance disclosures show. That cadre includes several companies suing to block Medicare from negotiating lower drug prices, one of the policies Rosen touts in a new campaign ad highlighting her fight against Big Pharma.

The senator has also made a tidy profit from investments in many of those same pharmaceutical companies, earning dividends upwards of $50,000 from the industry throughout her time in Congress.

Rosen’s ties to drug companies could open her up to charges of hypocrisy as she braces for what could be one of the tightest Senate races in 2024. The Cook Political Report shifted its rating of the race from "lean Democrat" to "toss up" in early April following strong polling by Rosen’s likely Republican opponent, Army veteran Sam Brown. And though Democrats carried Nevada in the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, former President Donald Trump has consistently outperformed President Joe Biden in state polling since October.

Among Rosen’s pharmaceutical backers is Amgen, a California-based company that charges $17,900 per month for a lung cancer treatment and has raised prices on Enbrel, an arthritis medication used by seniors, by at least 457 percent since acquiring the drug in 2002, the House Oversight Committee reported in 2020. Amgen PAC has contributed $8,500 to Rosen’s campaign since 2018, and the Nevada Democrat owns up to $50,000 in Amgen stock, according to her latest financial disclosure.

Rosen also reported owning stock in Viatris, a pharmaceutical company that in February 2022 paid a $264 million settlement over its move to raise the price of its EpiPen allergy treatment from $100 to $600 in 2008, which sparked a national debate about drug prices in the United States. And in 2016, when Viatris was known as Mylan, the company paid a $465 million settlement for overcharging Medicaid for EpiPen treatments.

Jazz Pharmaceuticals, a company that increased the price of its narcolepsy medication Xyrem by 841 percent from 2007 to 2014, is also a top Rosen contributor, doling out $10,000 to her campaign since 2022. Rosen owns up to $50,000 in Jazz Pharmaceuticals stock as of the end of 2022.

The Rosen campaign would not say if the Nevada Democrat will continue to invest in and accept contributions from the pharmaceutical industry.

"Unlike her extreme opponents, Senator Jacky Rosen has a consistent record of working to lower prescription drug costs for hardworking Nevadans. Jacky successfully took on the big drug companies to cap the cost of insulin at $35 per month and finally allow Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices, and she will continue standing up against high drug prices that hurt Nevada families," a Rosen spokesperson told the Free Beacon.

Some of Rosen’s top pharmaceutical donors are Merck, Bristol Myers Squibb, and Johnson & Johnson, all of whom are suing the Biden administration to put a stop to one of Rosen’s top accomplishments: the ability for Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices. A district judge in New Jersey on Monday rejected the argument from Bristol Myers Squibb and Johnson & Johnson that the policy amounted to an illegal seizure of company property.

Rosen has a history of pushing policies that go against her interests. She introduced legislation that would prohibit lawmakers from hiring former lobbyists, despite hiring several former lobbyists to serve as her senior policy advisers throughout her political career. She also committed to cracking down on corporate landowners jacking up rents on her constituents while raking in over $83,000 in campaign contributions from executives of one of America’s largest corporate landowners.