How greedy drug company CEO Bob Hugin gouged cancer patients and enabled Donald Trump

Who Bob Hugin is, and what losing New Jersey’s U.S. Senate seat to Donald Trump and Paul Ryan’s allies would mean for healthcare costs and working people

  • As CEO of Celgene, Bob Hugin racked up massive profits by dramatically and repeatedly raising the price of Revlimid, a cancer drug — forcing patients into bankruptcy or into refinancing homes
  • Hugin has refused to make a cheaper, generic version of the drug available, meaning patients pay more and he profits more
  • Bob Hugin is a strong supporter of Donald Trump and Paul Ryan who has given more than $500,000 to their campaigns and super PACs
  • Bob Hugin has committed $20 million of his own money in an attempt to buy New Jersey’s U.S. Senate seat in the 2018 election

By HealthNewsNJ Staff

Before running for New Jersey’s U.S. Senate seat, Bob Hugin was the CEO of Celgene, a pharmaceutical company — but prior to joining the company, Hugin was a Wall Street banking executive with no scientific experience. After becoming Celgene’s CEO in 2010, Hugin made millions by driving up the cost of medicine for cancer patients while parking the profits overseas to avoid US taxes.

In 2006, the retail cost of the Celgene’s cancer drug, Revlimid, was $6,195 a month. By the time Hugin left Celgene in 2017 to run for the U.S. Senate, the list price for a month supply had reached $18,691 or more — forcing a cancer patient to sue Celgene over a 500% jump in his Revlimid cost.

While big Wall Street investors have praised and profited off of Hugin’s aggressive price increases and tactics, investigative reports by Kaiser Health News, NPR, and the Financial Times, have called into question Hugin’s ethics and the legality of his business practices. And in 2017, Celgene agreed to pay a $280 million settlement with the Department of Justice to resolve allegations of fraud involving the promotion of drugs for uses not approved by the FDA.

In New Jersey, the Star-Ledger called Hugin’s company, “among the worst actors on drug pricing” that has “gamed the system” by spending $2.8 million on lobbying and shady business tactics to hold onto its monopoly and stop cheaper generics from hitting the market.

In addition to gouging cancer patients, Hugin’s price increases on Revlimid have cost U.S. taxpayers at least an additional $771 million in Medicare spending from 2012 to 2016.

Even President Donald Trump attacks Bob Hugin’s unethical business record at Celgene

In May, President Donald Trump gave a speech on the high cost of drug prices. Invited by the White House to attend the speech was retired school teacher Pam Holt, who struggled while fighting cancer to pay for the increased costs of Revlimid. Days after attending the event, Holt published a blog entry about her ordeal on the Health and Human Services website:

“Sadly, I had to use my credit card and ran up $10,000 in debt last year to stay alive and pay for my prescription. I had to refinance my home recently—and it was three years from being paid off.” – Pam Holt as quoted in her HHS blog post on May 17, 2018

In the days after President Donald Trump’s speech, both Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Food and Drug Commissioner Scott Gottlieb named and shamed drug companies in an effort to “end the shenanigans” that allow companies like Celgene to game the system. In the FDA report, Celgene was listed as the drug company with the most complaints for efforts to prevent generics.

Bob Hugin’s support for Donald Trump and efforts to undermine the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security

While Bob Hugin ran Celgene and profited on the backs of cancer patients, he also strongly supported Donald Trump and his presidential campaign.

Hugin was the chairman of Trump’s New Jersey campaign finance team, was a delegate to nominate Trump at the Republican convention, and has given more than a quarter of a million dollars to Trump’s campaign and super PACs. Hugin gave these contributions and stood by Trump as he made attacks on women, immigrants, and healthcare the central planks of his campaign.

In addition to supporting Donald Trump, Bob Hugin has made nearly $1.7 million in federal campaign contributions, nearly all of it to Republicans. He gave $100,000 to Paul Ryan’s super PAC, $300,000 to Paul Ryan’s committees, and another $100,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee — all while Paul Ryan has said he wants to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and cut funding for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

So what does Bob Hugin’s record tell us about what he’d do in the U.S. Senate?

The answer is that Bob Hugin would do what he’s always done — fight for Wall Street and drug company profits no matter the consequences to working people. He’ll stand by Donald Trump and Paul Ryan’s allies, and would most certainly vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act and take away healthcare for millions of Americans.