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Republican Group Launches Ad Campaign Against Donald Trumps Big Election Year Policy

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

In a policy battle between the president and the drug lobby, theyve come down firmly on the side of their seven-figure donors.

Brendan Smialowski/Getty

A group tied to the Republican Partys top state-level political outfit has done something almost unheard of in a close presidential election: Theyve taken out an ad attacking a key policy plank of their own partys president.

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The ad doesnt mention Donald Trump by name. But the target is clear: a new drug-price proposal that the president has made a cornerstone of his pitch to elderly voters. So too is the sponsors allegiance. In airing the spot, the State Government Leadership Foundation doesnt hide the fact that theyve taken the side of a top pharmaceutical trade groupone that happens to have given their network millions of dollars in supportin its dispute with Trump over the measure.

The new digital ad was released on Friday by SGLF, a dark money affiliate of the Republican State Leadership Committee, a political action committee that works to elect Republicans to state legislatures and other state-level positions.

The 30-second video levels a broadside against Trumps most favored nations executive order that would require Medicare to pay for certain drugs only if they are priced comparably to prices paid in other developed nations.

America is leading the world in medical research and innovation, working around the clock for groundbreaking cures and vaccines, the groups new ad declares. But now a foreign price setting executive order threatens all that, letting foreign governments decide when, and which drugs, Americans get access to, delaying critical treatments right when we need them most.

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President Trump unveiled the executive order at issue this month. And he has pointed to the measure on the campaign trail as evidence that he is taking on the pharmaceutical industry in an effort to reduce drug prices for seniors in particular.

Asked to comment on the SGLF ad, White House spokesman Judd Deere told ishonest that the president is not going to be intimidated out of also delivering lower prices to seniors by this embarrassing attempt to confuse the public. Deere said the administration has invested billions in the development of therapeutics and vaccines to respond to COVID-19.

The SGLF ad aligns the groups position with that of the drug industry, which vehemently opposes Trumps executive order. The White House has doubled down on a reckless attack on the very companies working around the clock to beat COVID-19, declared Stephen Ubl, the president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the industrys largest trade group, in a statement on the executive order.

The RSLCs high-dollar donors since last year also include a number of PhRMA member companies, including AbbVie, Amgen, AstraZeneca, Bristol Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly, Genentech, Gilead Sciences, GlaxoSmithKline, Ipsen Biopharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson, Novartis, Pfizer, Sanofi, Sunovion, and Takeda Pharmaceuticals.

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Asked to comment on the SGLF ad, its inconsistency with the presidents agenda, and the groups ties to PhRMA, an SGLF spokesperson emailed a statement defending it in general terms.

Americas researchers and pharmaceutical manufacturers are hidden heroes, working around the clock to develop the cures and vaccines we need to get our country back to work and school safely, the spokesperson said. They need every Americans support and were happy to encourage Washington to stand with them.

Trump has specifically targeted the pharmaceutical industry in recent public attacks, blaming them for negative television advertising about his drug price proposals.

The drug price issue has become a frequent Trump talking point on the campaign trail. Hes alluded to his new executive order during a number of recent campaign rallies, frequently portraying himself as the scourge of greedy pharmaceutical companies.

Read more on: thedailybeast, campaign, against

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