Readers Write: GOP-backed pharma group runs ad for Suozzi

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If a front group run by pharmaceutical lobbyists and Republican political operatives were showering praise on a U.S. congressman and running a re-election ad on his behalf, would this make him more or less trustworthy?  Would this make him more or less likely to fight on behalf of his constituents rather than on behalf of corporate interests?

All eligible Democratic voters in New York’s 3rd Congressional District will have to ask themselves these questions as they cast their ballots in this month’s primary.

Over the past few days, the Alliance for Patient Access has been running an online pop-up ad declaring incumbent Democratic Congressman Tom Suozzi a “champion of patient access” and suggesting constituents reach out to thank him for his efforts.

 What the ad doesn’t mention is that the tax-exempt group receives funding from major prescription drug manufacturers and has previously advocated against prescription-drug price controls and other reforms.

 The ad also doesn’t mention the incestuous relationship between the Alliance for Patient Access and the Washington consulting firm that it shares office space with and directs its business to, Woodberry Associates.

 An individual named Josie Cooper acts as both the executive director of the Alliance for Patient Access and the head of “stakeholder engagement” at Woodberry Associates.  Cooper also previously worked on Republican Joni Ernst’s senatorial campaign, as well the presidential campaigns of Republicans Scott Walker and Ted Cruz.

 The prior executive director of the Alliance for Patient Access, Brian Kennedy, is the president of Woodberry Associates.  He also previously served as the executive director of the Republican Governors Association.

 While I’m sure none of this would be damaging information if Suozzi were running in a Republican primary, it should seriously disturb Democratic primary voters.

 Do you want a representative who is indebted to their constituents or one who is indebted to multibillion-dollar pharmaceutical companies?  Do you want a representative who garners the support of grassroots organizations or one who garners the support of astroturfed ones?

 Again, if you are voting in this month’s primary, ask yourself these important questions before completing your ballot.  You don’t have to settle for a corrupt, dishonest incumbent.  You deserve someone who will truly be your advocate in Washington.  You deserve better.

 By the way, for a full rundown on the Alliance for Patient Access and Woodberry Associates, I would strongly recommend the following articles, which I partially used to research this letter.

 Group with consumer-friendly vibe pushes drugmakers’ message by Richard Lardner (distributed by the Associated Press on March 18, 2019)

https://apnews.com/7c8d0728c38345cd8dfc0fe1abd456ae

 Alliance for Patient Access: Not Even Trying Subtlety by Erin Rubin (published by Nonprofit Quarterly on March 20, 2019)

https://nonprofitquarterly.org/alliance-for-patient-access-not-even-trying-subtlety/

 Drug Lobby Quietly Spent Heavily Ahead of 2016 Election (published by Bloomberg Law on Aug. 10, 2018)

https://bnanews.bna.com/health-law-and-business/drug-lobby-quietly-spent-heavily-ahead-of-2016-election

 

 Matthew Zeidman

New Hyde Park

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