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Opinion: Big Pharma trying to scare voters on federal drug discount program

By Craig Blair, guest columnist, The Register-Herald

Last month, I lost my primary election to continue representing the voters of West Virginia’s 15th Senate district. Normally, this is not something I would seek to draw attention to — no one likes losing. And normally, it’s not something that Americans across the country should be expected to pay attention to. But my defeat and the reasons for it are being egregiously mischaracterized by Washington, D.C., special interests posing as defenders of hard-working conservative voters in the Mountain State.

The reasons I lost are evident to anyone on the ground here in West Virginia. One reason you will not find among them is my support for a federal drug discount program that costs taxpayers nothing, and disproportionately benefits rural, working-class voters — you might even call them MAGA supporters — in places like my district. Here’s the rub: Big pharmaceutical companies hate this program because it cuts into their enormous profits. Because I defended it, an organization with ties to Big Pharma spent money opposing me and now they are trying to take a victory lap and scare other Republicans into abandoning their support for this program. They are wrong, and my fellow Republicans should not listen.

It’s worth noting that the same night I lost, Gov. Jim Justice — who is endorsed by President Trump, I might add — won a critically important primary for a seat in the U.S. Senate. West Virginians are rightfully elated. Gov. Justice has been a huge supporter of this program. He signed the legislation protecting 340B pharmacies that passed the West Virginia Senate unanimously this year. And we can hope he will continue to champion it when he gets to Washington in January.

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