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Trump's Health Secretary Nominee Sought Special Treatment for Industry Donors

By Kaiser Health News  
   January 09, 2017

Over the past decade, Tom Price has waded into issues related to specific drugs and medical devices, making 38 inquiries with the federal Food and Drug Administration, according to federal records.

This article first appeared January 9, 2017 on Kaiser Health News.

By Marisa Taylor and Christina Jewett

Rep. Tom Price, the physician and Georgia Republican tapped for the nation's leading health care job, has long criticized federal spending as excessive. Yet during his years in Congress, he's worked hard to keep federal dollars flowing to his most generous campaign donors.

Price has been a go-to congressman, a review of his records show, for medical special interests hotly sparring with regulators or facing budget cuts. Over the past decade, he has waded into issues related to specific drugs and medical devices, making 38 inquiries with the federal Food and Drug Administration, according to federal records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. He questioned the FDA on his constituents' behalf about matters as minute as a device for fertility treatment and an ingredient in pain creams.

In other cases, he has gone to bat for companies whose executives and employees have generously contributed to his campaigns and political action committees.

"It looks like he's somebody who could throw the store open to a lot of niche special interests," said Ross Baker, a political science professor at Rutgers University who specializes in Congress. "These are things that fly under the radar. If you take a meat ax to Medicare, for example, everybody would know about it. But this kind of stuff is done in the dark of night."

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Kaiser Health News is a national health policy news service that is part of the nonpartisan Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.


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