- Thomson Reuters
US Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said at Tuesday’s Democratic presidential debate that he counts pharmaceutical companies as one of enemies he’s most proud of battling.
Sanders has been investigating Turing Pharmaceuticals, the company that recently came under fire for suddenly jacking up the price of a critical drug called Daraprim by more than 5,000%.
Sanders and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) wrote a letter more than three weeks ago requesting more information from Turing about the price hike. They’ve still not officially heard back.
But, in an amusing twist of events, Turing’s CEO Martin Shkreli recently announced over Twitter that he donated to Sanders’ presidential campaign:
Shkreli told Stat News that he donated $2,700, the maximum amount allowed, to Sanders on September 28.
Shkreli told Stat he made the donation in part because he agrees with Sanders’ views, but mostly to get Sanders’ attention so the two could have a meeting to discuss drug pricing.
“I think it’s cheap to use one person’s action as a platform without kind of talking to that person,” Shkreli said in the interview with Stat. “He’ll take my money, but he won’t engage with me for five minutes to understand this issue better.”
When we chatted with Shkreli on Tuesday, just ahead of the 2016 Democratic Presidential Debate, he also mentioned trying to get the Democratic candidates’ attention. “I want the candidates to debate me, even for 10 minutes. I doubt they could,” he told Business Insider.
The strategy doesn’t appear to be working. According to Stat, the Sanders campaign has flatly rejected Shkreli’s donation.
“We are not keeping the money from this poster boy for drug company greed,” Michael Briggs, Sanders’ campaign manager, told Stat. Instead, Briggs said, the money will go to a health clinic.