Questions arise over Chris Christie's ties to the pharmaceutical industry

August 24, 2023

Former New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie has long been at the forefront of efforts to attack former President Donald Trump.

Yet when it comes to questions about his own past as a lobbyist for the pharmaceutical industry, answers from Christie are missing. 

Christie blames pharmacy benefit managers price gouging

That was the point made in a recent article by Breitbart contributor Sean Moran, who began by noting that Christie has pointed to pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs).

A Wall Street Journal piece from 2016 explained that PBMs "process prescriptions for the groups that pay for drugs, usually insurance companies or corporations and use their size to negotiate with drug makers and pharmacies."

They thus "act as an intermediary between the payor and everyone else in the health-care system" and "generally make money through service fees from large customer contracts for processing prescriptions, operating mail-order pharmacies, and negotiating with pharmacies and drug makers."

Moran noted that Christie slammed PBMs during an interview with CNBC this month saying, "You do not hear any politician come on here and talk about the PBMs, the pharmacy benefit managers."

"They are taking from anywhere from 50% to 70% of the rebates that pharmaceutical companies mean to go to the customer and they’re taking them purely to be middlemen," the former governor insisted.

Former governor says PBMs are "a real evil agent"

What's more, Christie singled out PBMs when launching his presidential bid, declaring, "There is a real evil agent in all this, and those are the pharmacy benefit managers."

He alleged that while "the pharmaceutical industry gives hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions of dollars every year in discounts off of their drugs," few of those savings are passed on to consumers.

"We need to have some common sense reform of that, because for middle men to be keeping the majority of those discounts that the pharmaceutical companies give to try to decrease the rate that you pay at the counter is just wrong," Christie complained.

Christie has deep ties to pharmaceutical industry

However, Moran noted that even as he has been going after PBMs for allegedly pocketing the discounts offered by pharmaceutical industry, he has made money lobbying on behalf of that very industry through his firm Christie 55 Solutions.

What's more, in April of this year Christie also joined the advisory board of Cytogel Pharma, a company which manufactures the non-opioid painkiller Exparel.

Nor is that Christie's only tie to the pharmaceutical industry, as his former chief of staff Rich Bagger worked before joining the governor's team in Trenton.

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