Home / News / Progressive Activists Ambush Joe Manchin Before Vote to Confirm Big Pharma Executive

Progressive Activists Ambush Joe Manchin Before Vote to Confirm Big Pharma Executive

Photo Credit: Social Security Works


On Wednesday, the Senate voted 55-43 to endorse Alex Azar, a former curative executive, as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, the nation’s largest sovereign group with a $1.1 trillion bill that includes squeeze and delivery of drugs for an array of sovereign health programs, including Medicare.  

Hours before, on-going activists from Social Security Works, Public Citizen, Credo Action, People’s Action, Other 98, and UNITE HERE delivered 300,000 petitions to 3 senators propelling them to reject Aza’s nomination, essentially since he was a comparison executive with Eli Lilly, which was famous to price-gouge drugs indispensable by exposed populations.


The petitions were delivered to the Capitol offices of Democratic senators Joe Manchin, Heidi Heitkamp and Sen. Tom Carper.

Six Democrats—Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons of Delaware, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heitkamp of North Dakota, Manchin of West Virginia and Doug Jones of Alabama—voted in preference of Azar’s confirmation.

During the delivery, Social Security Works executive executive Alex Lawson confronted Sen. Manchin on his support for Azar. He and other activists pulpy Manchin, to no avail, about attention price-gouging on drugs that provide opioid addiction.

As Social Security Work’s Facebook page noted, “Someone that was concerned in the curative attention that caused the opioid widespread so that they could PROFIT can not be devoted to solve the problem. C’mon Senator Manchin we know you know better.”

A video of their sell is below, followed by a transcript.

Alex Lawson: “There’s Sen. Manchin, right there, himself. Senator, can we broach these petitions to opinion no on Alex Azar this afternoon when he comes up?”

Sen. Manchin: “Oh, okay. Well, I’m going to opinion for Alex since I’ve got a joining to fight the soporific widespread that’s killing my state.

Alex Lawson: “Alex Azar, when he was at Eli Lilly, worked in collusion with other curative companies to ascend the cost of insulin. We do not consider he can be trusted.”

Sen. Manchin: “Was that on insulin?”

Alex Lawson: “On insulin, yeah.”

Sen. Manchin: “Any of that is bad. we can tell you, I’ve got a commitment. I’ve got to fight the fight on drugs. I’m going to try to hold him accountable when we opinion for him. And we can go after him in a much some-more convincing way if he doesn’t change his ways.”

Steven Knievel, an disciple with Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines Program: “You know who else price-spiked opioids? Naloxone, the opioid overdose annulment drug, that has been cost peaked by drug companies. Buprenorphine, the opioid medication-assisted treatment, that has also been cost peaked by drug companies. We can't trust a curative executive with a story of price-gouging medicines to be put in charge of the nation’s health agency.”

Sen. Manchin: “Well, we appreciate you all. we really do. Thanks for coming.”  

Alex Lawson: “And we mount with you in fighting the opioid epidemic.”

Sen. Manchin: “Oh, absolutely, you know what it’s doing to my state.”

Alex Lawson: “We just don’t consider we can trust the curative attention to do it.”

Steven Rosenfeld covers inhabitant domestic issues for AlterNet, including America’s democracy and voting rights. He is the author of several books on elections and the co-author of Who Controls Our Schools: How Billionaire-Sponsored Privatization Is Destroying Democracy and the Charter School Industry (AlterNet eBook, 2016).

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