Oregon Democrat says drug prices are ‘out of control.’ As a state legislator, she tried to keep them that way.

Congressional hopeful Val Hoyle took thousands of dollars from Eli Lilly and then worked to protect his insulin patent.

Val Hoyle (via Twitter)

Collin Anderson • September 22, 2022 11:20 am

As a state legislator, Oregon Democrat Val Hoyle received many donations from pharmaceutical companies during her eight years in office. But the money she received from Eli Lilly between 2011 and 2014, totaling $17,500, was three times more than any other donations you have received from a pharmaceutical company.

It stands out because, in 2014, while those donations were pouring in, Hoyle added a provision, nicknamed the “Eli Lilly Amendment,” to an unrelated health care bill, intended to protect the pharmaceutical giant’s insulin patent against generic competitors. It became so controversial (both Democrats and Republicans said the “poisonous” amendment could “kill” the bill) that it was eventually dropped.

Now running for Oregon’s 4th House district, Hoyle says she’s running for Congress to fix “runaway prescription costs,” and her opponent, Republican Alek Skarlatos, intends to do an issue of Hoyle’s intervention on behalf of the drug manufacturer.

“Big Pharma and these health insurance companies know that Val Hoyle is on their side,” Skarlatos campaign manager Ross Purgason told The Associated Press. Washington Free Beacon. “Alek will work on solutions to reduce the cost of health care.”

Hoyle served in the Oregon Chamber from 2009 to 2017 and later served as Oregon labor commissioner. Skarlatos is a former Army National Guard soldier who rose to fame in 2015 after helping stop a gunman who opened fire on a train from Amsterdam to Paris. The gunman later confessed that he wanted to “kill Americans,” and Skarlatos received the US Army Soldier’s Medal from former President Barack Obama.

They face off in a bid to replace 36-year-old incumbent Peter DeFazio (D., Ore.) who announced his impending retirement in December 2021. DeFazio narrowly defeated Skarlatos in 2020, receiving 51 percent of the vote to the 46 percent of Skarlatos. The Republican has raised $2.6 million to Hoyle’s $1.2 million.

Hoyle’s 2014 amendment limited a pharmacist’s ability to dispense generic insulin and would “end[ed] costing our customers more,” the Oregon State Pharmacy Association said in 2014.

Then-Oregon House Majority Leader Hoyle introduced the amendment after accepting $12,500 in campaign cash from Eli Lilly, campaign finance records show. The company explicitly pushed for the provision and gave Hoyle an additional $7,500. for the next three yearseven though the Democrats’ amendment was quietly removed from the bill after critical press coverage.

Now, Hoyle is singing a different tune. Their campaign site laments “soaring deductibles and out-of-control prescription costs” and says it will “ensure that all Americans have access to quality, affordable care when they need it.” And in 2018, Hoyle said she is “not afraid to take on powerful special interests to protect Oregon’s working families.”

Hoyle’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

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