25 May 2011 Merck Doubles-Down on Liberalism, Reasserts Support for ObamaCare Following National Center for Public Policy Research Questioning at Shareholder Meeting
Washington, D.C. – Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier gave a liberal answer to every question posed by the National Center for Public Policy Research about Merck’s support of ObamaCare at Tuesday’s Merck shareholder meeting in North Branch, New Jersey.
National Center for Public Policy Research Vice President David Ridenour asked Frazier if Frazier would commit to sharing with Merck shareholders the amount of money Merck spent through PhRMA pushing for passage of ObamaCare.
Frazier refused to make this commitment, saying only that he would take the suggestion “under advisement” – typically politespeak for “no.”
“I was disappointed that Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier refused to commit to disclose to shareholders the company’s contributions to the lobbying effort for ObamaCare,” said David Ridenour. “Does he believe it is none of shareholders’ business? The only corporate transparency in evidence here was Frazier’s transparent liberalism.”
Ridenour also asked Frazier if Merck is rethinking its support for ObamaCare now that an FOIA request has revealed that the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare’s recent review of the prostate cancer drug Provenge appears to have been prompted, at least in part, by concerns over costs.
Instead, Frazier reiterated Merck’s support for the legislation, repeating its sponsors’ claims that ObamaCare will expand health care coverage by 32 million people.
“Frazier told me both publicly and in private at the conclusion of the shareholder meeting that he was concerned about the payment advisory panels created under ObamaCare. He told me he was worried about their potential for — and this is his wording — ‘rationing,’ including of Merck products,” said Ridenour. “ObamaCare may kill Merck, but Frazier is still happily drinking the Kool Aid anyway. They have a name in the medical field for irresponsible action that kills: malpractice.”
National Center for Public Policy Research General Counsel Justin Danhof asked Frazier if Merck considered the “reputational risk” to Merck before supporting ObamaCare in light of a National Center for Public Policy Research/FreedomWorks poll showing a substantial drop in conservative attitudes toward companies lobbying for the adoption of ObamaCare.
Frazier ducked the question, instead relating an anecdote about Democrats objecting to Merck’s support of the Republican leadership’s expansion of Medicare Part D, the “prescription drug benefit” bill, in 2003. Conservative organizations ardently opposed that expansion.
Frazier apparently intended his answer to demonstrate Merck’s nonpartisanship, but he provided a reminder that Merck lobbied for big government even before ObamaCare was introduced.
“Merck is doubling-down on liberalism,” said Amy Ridenour, president of the National Center for Public Policy Research. “Every answer Frazier gave reflected liberal talking points and platitudes that don’t reflect the real world. Obama’s claim that ObamaCare will expand coverage by 32 million is based on Medicaid expansions the states can’t afford, an individual mandate likely to be thrown out by the courts and regulations on business that already are killing jobs – except when politically-favored firms receive ‘waivers,’ of course.”
David Ridenour’s question-and-answer with Kenneth Frazier can be found online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ED4gEM3L_zI and Justin Danhof’s at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KdspHGCOi8 . Video of an apparently liberal shareholder complaining that Danhof’s questioning is “threatening” and confusing opposition to ObamaCare with opposition to health care coverage is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZueGfWI_TMg.
The National Center for Public Policy Research is a Merck shareholder, as is David Ridenour.
Additional information about National Center for Public Policy Research activities at the Merck shareholder meeting can be found in a May 24 National Center press release, available online at http://www.nationalcenter.org/PR-Merck_052411.html.
The National Center For Public Policy Research is a conservative, free-market non-profit think-tank established in 1982. It is supported by the voluntary gifts of over 100,000 individual recent supporters and its 2010 revenue was over $12 million. It receives less than one percent of its revenue from corporate sources. Contributions are welcome and appreciated.