Schrader’s new lobbying employer works for numerous drug companies like Pfizer and Sanofi, plus industry trade association PhRMA.

by Donald Shaw, Sludge

Former Democratic Rep. Kurt Schrader, a prominent ally of Big Pharma while in Congress, has joined a K Street lobbying firm with a heavy roster of pharmaceutical industry clients.

Schrader, who was defeated last year in an Oregon primary by attorney Jamie McLeod-Skinner, became a principal at lobbying firm Williams & Jensen, according to an announcement from the firm earlier this month. A former co-chair of the centrist House Blue Dog coalition, the seven-term Rep. Schrader told Politico that he plans to register to lobby the Biden administration and that while he is barred from directly lobbying Congress for one year under federal law, he “hopes to bring value to his new firm by connecting it with lawmakers willing to make deals in a closely divided Congress.” Specifically, Schrader said he plans to lobby on implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which includes a provision allowing the government to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies for Medicare to pay lower drug prices.

kurt schrader speaks at an event in a nice, tan suit

The Department of Health and Human Services is currently developing guidance for implementing the IRA’s negotiations program, a process that is subject to lobbying by the pharmaceutical industry. Williams & Jensen’s pharmaceutical industry clients have already begun pushing back against the government’s proposals for the program. For example, in a 76-page comment, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) critiqued the initial guidance that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services published in March, arguing that it did not give drug companies enough opportunities to engage with regulators and that it contained a gag clause during the negotiation process, among other things.

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