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AHA and CVS Health are behind pharma bashing radio ads, says STAT report

CVS Health says it provided funding to help counter the hundreds of millions of dollars the pharmaceutical industry has spent.

Susan Morse, Senior Editor

The American Hospital Association and CVS Health are behind a group that spent over $1 million on radio ads bashing drug companies, according to STAT.

The Citizens for Truth in Drug Pricing was formed by the American Hospital Association and CVS Health, the report said. The source of the radio ads had been a mystery to STAT, which said it learned the coalition was formed by a top executive and a top lobbyist for the American Hospital Association, and a former political consultant for CVS Health, after receiving information in a 2018 tax filing.

The 2018 tax returns revealed ties to Washington's hospital lobby and CVS Health, and a connection to veteran Republican operatives, including many with ties to President Trump, the report said. The group lists as its president Tom P. Nickels, AHA's executive vice president for government relations, and as secretary, David Bockorny, a major Republican donor and lobbyist contracted by both AHA and CVS Health, STAT said.

CVS Health confirmed it has provided funding to counter what the pharmaceutical industry spends, but said it had no official role with the Citizens for Truth in Drug Pricing. The AHA declined to comment.

"While we have no official role with Citizens for Truth in Drug Pricing, we've provided funding to help counter the hundreds of millions of dollars the pharmaceutical industry has spent running a misinformation campaign on the root cause of skyrocketing drug prices," CVS Health said. "The organization exists to remind consumers – via multiple outlets – that drug manufacturers are solely responsible for setting list prices."

On its website, the coalition urges consumers to sign and send letters to Congress urging passage of legislation to reform the drug patent system to increase competition among drug makers.

Twitter: @SusanJMorse
Email the writer: susan.morse@himssmedia.com