Biden, Bernie, Trump among top 20 recipients of Big Pharma campaign contributions
It is no big secret that the pharmaceutical industry would like nothing more than to kill the American vaping industry. Big Pharma companies like GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer make billions of dollars in the manufacturing, marketing, and selling of smoking cessation aids, including nicotine-enhanced patches, gums and lozenges. With the rise in popularity of vaping in recent years, these companies’ profit margins have been consistently plummeting.
That is, until the successful implementation of numerous anti-vaping campaigns – campaigns often supported and promoted by federal government agencies like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Big Pharma, the FDA, and political corruption
As far back as March 2013, signs that the deck was stacked against vaping began to appear. Well before Donald Trump made his historic ride down the escalator of Trump Tower to announce his candidacy for President of the United States, then-President Barack Obama appointed Mitch Zeller to run a new FDA subsidiary. As the first-ever director of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products, Zeller would be responsible for creating the FDA deeming regulations that now threaten the vaping industry’s very existence. Coincidentally, Mitch Zeller’s former job was as a consultant for GlaxoSmithKline, makers of Nicorette Gum.
In the autumn of 2017 shortly after Donald Trump won the 2016 election, the new president appointed another former GlaxoSmithKline employee to run the FDA. Dr. Scott Gottlieb would spend his more than two -year tenure promoting the conspiracy theory that teen vaping is a national epidemic. In an interview with Brent Stafford of Regulator Watch, senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute Michelle Minton issued the following statements.
“I started noticing all these media stories about Juul and adolescents, and I started wondering. Where is this coming from, because the research data wasn’t showing an epidemic? It was showing a very small percentage of teenagers experimenting with e-cigarettes, but it didn’t – in my mind – nowhere near rising to the level of the panic that I was seeing in newspapers, on blogs, etcetera.”
The “teen vaping is an epidemic” false narrative took hold in the mainstream media and would only subside after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus to be an international pandemic. When COVID is killing thousands of people per day, the notion that teen vaping is rising to epidemic proportion as well is absolute poppycock by comparison.
Unfortunately, the damage to vaping’s reputation had already been done. Gottlieb would eventually leave his post as FDA Commissioner for a new consultancy position with Big Pharma’s Pfizer corporation.
Related Article: Breaking: FDA Chief Scott Gottlieb resigns! Vaping rejoices!
The rather short history of the American vaping industry is filled with hundreds of examples of political corruption such as these. And it doesn’t end with the departure of Scott Gottlieb in March 2019.
The corruption continues to this very day. Many within the vaping community mistakenly assume that only democrats tend to engage in anti-vaping conspiracies. However, according to Open Secrets, a non-profit organization which tracks political campaign contributions of elected officials, the top 20 recipients of Big Pharma money is a list that contains a health mixture of both democrats and republicans.
Top 20 political recipients of Big Pharma money
The 2020 democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden leads the list followed closely by Independent/Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders. But Trump supporters should not get too cocky because the president comes in third, though his overall contributions are less than 50 percent of Joe Biden’s. The list even includes Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and former democratic presidential contender Andrew Yang.
- Biden, Joe (D) $1,613,9252
- Sanders, Bernie (I-VT) $983,6113
- Trump, Donald (R) $794,5144
- Buttigieg, Pete (D) $552,6925
- Warren, Elizabeth (D-MA) Senate $545,1676
- McConnell, Mitch (R-KY) Senate $443,5097
- McCarthy, Kevin (R-CA) House $418,5878
- Tillis, Thom (R-NC) Senate $298,0239
- Gardner, Cory (R-CO) Senate $269,59410
- Yang, Andrew (D) $237,42011
- Klobuchar, Amy (D-MN) Senate $234,41012
- Cornyn, John (R-TX) Senate $234,39013
- Scalise, Steve (R-LA) House $209,74214
- Cassidy, Bill (R-LA) Senate $199,53515
- Kelly, Mark (D-AZ) $190,05616
- McGrath, Amy (D-KY) $185,47617
- Coons, Chris (D-DE) Senate $182,65318
- Eshoo, Anna (D-CA) House $180,15019
- Jones, Doug (D-AL) Senate $173,90420
- Pallone, Frank Jr (D-NJ) House $170,675
Last month, the U.S. Senate passed an anti-vaping bill – with overwhelming bipartisan support- that aims to abolish the delivery of vaping products through the U.S. Postal Service. If successful, the cost of vapor products will skyrocket as vape shops and retailers will be forced to turn to privatized delivery companies like UPS and FedEx. While the bill’s bipartisan support comes as somewhat of a shock to many vaping advocates, the Open Secrets Top 20 List may at least partially help explain why the Senate bill passed the bill so effortlessly.
Related Article: Call to action: Congress set to vote on bill to ban vapes-by-mail
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