Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown accepted large donations from opioid manufacturers

 May 8, 2023

A new report has revealed that Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown accepted large donations from some of the companies linked to his state's devastating opioid crisis. 

In an article published last week, the New York Post cited Federal Election Commission (FEC) financial reports which revealed that the contributions totaled almost a quarter of a million dollars.

Brown's donors have settled multiple lawsuits over failure to abide by safeguards

The funds came over a two-decade period from political action committees (PACs), lobbyists, and employees tied to three pharmaceutical companies: Cardinal Health, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen.

The Post noted that collectively the trio of firms control some 90% of prescription drugs in the United States and have faced allegations that they helped to facilitate addictions.

Specifically, the corporations have been accused of neglecting to track and report suspicious orders of the opioid painkillers that they market.

Fox 5 in New York reported that a coalition of counties in the state settled a lawsuit against them in 2021 for $1.1 billion.

Campaign manage says "no one has done more to fight the opioid crisis in Ohio"

What's more, the Post noted that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recovered its largest settlement ever following a lawsuit against McKesson over drug distribution practices.

Brown campaign manager Rachel Petri issued a statement to the Post that read in which she touted the senator's professed commitment battling the opioid epidemic.

"No one has done more to fight the opioid crisis in Ohio than Sherrod Brown — holding drug companies accountable and getting Ohioans the care and treatment they need," she was quoted as saying.

However, the Post also pointed to how in 2019 Brown also promised not to accept funds from corporate PACs in the event that he launches a presidential bid.

Observers predict a tough reelection fight next year

Yet that did not prevent him from continuing to take money from corporate PACs as senator and has brought in more than $1 million over the last four years.

Data published by the National Institutes of Health shows that over 106,706 Americans were lost to drug overdoses in 2021, with some 16,706 dying due to prescription overdoses.

Brown's home state has been particularly hard hit by narcotics, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) listing Ohio as having the fifth-highest drug overdose rate in the nation.

He faces what Cook Political Report predicts will be a competitive reelection fight next year in an increasingly red state.

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