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Bernie Sanders Refuses Donation From CEO Who Raised Drug Price

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 17/10/2015 Sam Levine
ATHENA IMAGE © Joe Raedle via Getty Images ATHENA IMAGE

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) declined to accept a maximum campaign donation from the CEO of a company that increased the price of a drug used by HIV and AIDS patients by hundreds of dollars, choosing instead to donate the money to a Washington health clinic .

Martin Shkreli, CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals,  donated $2,700, the maximum allowed for individual donors, in September, he told Stat. While the Sanders campaign initially thanked Shkreli for his contribution, a campaign spokesman told Stat this week that it would donate the money to Whitman-Walker health clinic.

Shkreli, who raised the price of Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 per tablet after acquiring it in August, told Stat that he donated in part to get a meeting with Sanders to explain how drug prices were set. Sanders has refused to meet with him.

After backlash over the sudden increase, Shkreli said in September that the company would lower the price. At the beginning of October, ABC News found that the price still remained extremely high.

As part of his presidential campaign, Sanders has pushed to lower the cost of prescription drugs. His  proposals include allowing Medicare to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies on drug prices, allowing the import of drugs from Canada and requiring more transparency on how drug prices are set. When he served in the House, Sanders was also the first member of Congress to lead a group of seniors on a bus trip to Canada to buy cheaper prescription drugs.

Shkreli's maximum donation to Sanders also puts him in the minority of Sanders' campaign donors -- only .039 percent of them have given the maximum $2,700. While Sanders raised $27 million in the third quarter of his campaign, the average donation was $30.

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