Friday, December 23, 2016

Donald Trump’s Pick for Health Secretary Traded Medical Stocks While in House

By James V. Grimaldi and Michelle Hackman
Dec. 22, 2016 6:57 p.m. ET

President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to run the Health and Human Services Department traded more than $300,000 in shares of health-related companies over the past four years while sponsoring and advocating legislation that potentially could affect those companies’ stocks.

Rep. Tom Price, a Georgia Republican, bought and sold stock in about 40 health-care, pharmaceutical and biomedical companies since 2012, including a dozen in the current congressional session, according to a Wall Street Journal review of hundreds of pages of stock trades he filed with Congress.

In the same two-year period, he has sponsored nine and co-sponsored 35 health-related bills in the House.

His stock trades included Amgen Inc., Bristol Meyers Squibb Co., Eli Lilly & Co., Pfizer Inc. and Aetna Inc.

His largest single stock buy was an August 2016 purchase of between $50,000 and $100,000 of an Australian biomedical firm, Innate Immunotherapeutics Inc., whose largest shareholder is a GOP congressman on the Trump transition team, according to the filings, which list price ranges. . The stock has since doubled in price.


The health-care industry is Mr. Price’s biggest patron. In 2015 and 2016, he received about $730,000 in campaign donations from health professionals, insurers and drug companies, more than from any other industry, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Over his six terms, he has raised about $15 million, and about $4.8 million came from the health sector. Insurer Aetna donated a total of $10,000 to Mr. Price in 2015 and 2016 through its PAC. Pfizer, the drug giant, donated $3,500 through its PAC. Eli Lilly gave $5,000.


One law enacted this month that could benefit Innate Immuno is the 21st Century Cures Act, which authorizes spending $6.3 billion for medical research, including $500 million for the FDA to speed up drug approvals.

A key provision that would permit clinical trials of new medical treatments to proceed more quickly was written by Mr. Collins as a member of the health panel of the Energy and Commerce Committee.


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