Sanders Rejects Donation From Price-Hiking Drug CEO

Campaign turns down $2.7K from Martin Shkreli
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 16, 2015 6:58 AM CDT
Sanders Rejects Donation From Price-Hiking Drug CEO
Bernie Sanders speaks during a fundraiser at the Avalon Hollywood Wednesday in Hollywood.   (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)

The nation's most notorious drug CEO tried to give Bernie Sanders a $2,700 campaign donation—but Sanders is giving it to a clinic instead, reports the Boston Globe. Martin Shkreli, whose Turing Pharmaceuticals made headlines for raising the price of a drug 5,000%, gave the Sanders campaign the maximum individual contribution in the hopes of getting a private meeting to give his side of the story to Sanders in person. "We are not keeping the money from this poster boy for drug company greed," says a campaign spokesman. Instead, the money will go to an HIV clinic in DC known as Whitman-Walker Health, reports Mediaite, which notes that the drug whose price was raised astronomically is commonly used to treat HIV patients who are suffering from the parasitic infection toxoplasmosis.

Shkreli had made no secret of his support and contribution to Sanders, even tweeting about it during Tuesday's debate ("Damn @BernieSanders is my boy...")—even though Sanders has gone after Big Pharma in general and Shkreli in particular. His tweeting (Shkreli tried to engage Hillary Clinton, too) apparently drew the campaign's attention to the money, however, which had initially accepted it. "I think it's cheap to use one person's action as a platform without kind of talking to that person," Shkreli tells the Globe. "He'll take my money, but he won't engage with me for five minutes to understand this issue better." (Here's why Shkreli hasn't cut the drug's price yet.)

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