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WellPoint and Bristol-Myers Squibb Cut Ties to ALEC, Making 44 Corporations Out


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JL
- 865 days ago - prwatch.org
Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS), a New York pharmaceutical company with $17.6 billion in annual revenue, and WellPoint, an Indiana health insurance company with $61.7 billion in annual revenue, are cutting ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council



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JL A. (286)
Wednesday March 20, 2013, 2:40 pm

PR Watch
Published on PR Watch (http://www.prwatch.org)

Home > WellPoint and Bristol-Myers Squibb Cut Ties to ALEC, Making 44 Corporations Out
WellPoint and Bristol-Myers Squibb Cut Ties to ALEC, Making 44 Corporations Out
by Rebekah Wilce [1] — March 18, 2013 - 11:12am
Topics: Corporations [2], Politics [3]
Projects: ALEC Exposed [4]
Share/Save Share this [5]

Bristol-Myers Squibb [6] (BMS), a New York pharmaceutical company with $17.6 billion [7] in annual revenue, and WellPoint [8], an Indiana health insurance company with $61.7 billion [9] in annual revenue, are cutting ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council [10] (ALEC).

This brings the tally to at least 44 corporations that have cut ties to ALEC in the past year.

A BMS spokesperson told Tim Brennan, Treasurer and CFO of the Unitarian Universalist Association, which had been in dialogue with the company over expanding its lobbying disclosure, that the pharmaceutical giant did not renew its membership in ALEC at the end of 2012. BMS spokesperson Fred Egenolf confirmed the company's decision to leave ALEC with the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD).

WellPoint quietly announced [11] on March 1 that it had not attended an ALEC meeting nor supported ALEC financially since the summer of 2011 and that it has "no current plans to support ALEC or attend any of their meetings."

The exit of these companies brings the total to 44 [12] major American and multinational for-profit corporations that have departed ALEC in recent months. Blue Cross Blue Shield [13] was the first health insurance company to cut ties with ALEC, in February 2012; and BMS' departure from ALEC was preceded by those of pharmaceutical companies Procter & Gamble [14], Johnson & Johnson [15], Amgen [16], Merck [17], and Sanofi [18] in 2012. ALEC's new spokesman recently asserted to a blogger that some of the corporations that left ALEC last year have returned, but he refused to provide any names or evidence to back up his claims, and the organization has a documented history of counter-factual assertions.
Bristol-Myers Squibb's Involvement with ALEC

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company [19]

BMS has been a member [20] of ALEC's Health and Human Services (HHS) Task Force [21]. The HHS task force has adopted bills [22] opposing health care reforms and supporting the privatization of Medicare and Medicaid. ALEC has also pushed bills that make it harder for families of Americans killed or injured by pharmaceuticals to hold pharmaceutical companies fully accountable [23] for harm. One ALEC bill even bars suit for death or injury from any FDA approved drugs unless the persons injured or their families can prove the company committed fraud, even though the FDA regularly recalls dangerous drugs that managed to get through the flawed, largely industry-captured FDA approval process.

In 2006, BMS and Sanofi-Aventis faced personal injury lawsuits alleging that the companies misled the public about the drug blood-thinning Plavix (made by both companies) and hid its risks, including much higher risks of heart attack, stroke, internal bleeding and death than previously reported. This followed a class action lawsuit with similar allegations. The personal injury suit was filed on behalf of Dorothy Hall, who "was prescribed and used Plavix from December 20, 2002 to Oct[ober] 4, 2005 for the purpose of preventing a heart attack or stroke" and "thereafter suffered two separate strokes, each requiring medical attention. Had Dorothy been properly warned of the risks of using Plavix, she never would have used it," according to a press release [24].

If adopted by states and passed into law, ALEC "model" bills would make cases against drug companies more difficult to bring, prove, and win, and would limit the power of juries to fully compensate victims and punish corporations that acted egregiously.
WellPoint's Involvement with ALEC

WellPoint HeadquartersWellPoint has also been a member [20] of ALEC's Health and Human Services (HHS) Task Force [21], which has also adopted bills [22] to oppose health insurance reforms [25] in addition to other measures.

WellPoint has been the subject of citizen protest in 2009 as one of the insurance industry giants that, according to activists, led "the charge against President Barack Obama's plan to create a 'public option' -- essentially an expansion of Medicare for working families -- to create more competition and give consumers more choices." Allowing one or two companies like WellPoint to dominate an insurance market lets firms "drive up premiums, restrict coverage, and take advantage of consumers," according to [26] the Campaign for America's Future.
The Rush to Cut Ties to ALEC

Tell ALEC Corporations It's Time To Cut Ties!Tell ALEC Corporations It's Time To Cut Ties! [27]Corporations that have publicly cut ties to ALEC [12] since the Center for Media and Democracy launched ALECexposed.org [28] and highlighted Coca Cola's role in the group, include Coca Cola, Wells Fargo, General Electric, Western Union, Sprint, General Motors, Walgreens, Best Buy, Hewlett-Packard, MillerCoors, John Deere, Dell, Johnson & Johnson, Wal-Mart, Amazon.com, Procter & Gamble, Mars, Wendy's, McDonald's, Kraft Foods, and PepsiCo. The addition of Bristol-Myers Squibb and WellPoint brings the total to at least 44.

Six non-profits -- Lumina Foundation for Education, the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, the Gates Foundation, Solar Energy Industries Association, and the American Wind Energy Association -- and at least 71 state legislators [29] have also cut ties with ALEC. In addition, as CMD has reported, 117 ALEC members [30] were voted out of office or left state legislatures in 2011 and 2012.

CMD and public interest groups including ColorOfChange.org (which has led a corporate outreach effort), Progress Now affiliates, Common Cause, People for the American Way, Greenpeace, and numerous other groups, such as labor unions and the Unitarian Universalists, have urged corporations to stop funding ALEC's extreme agenda, which has included bills to make it easier to get away with shooting someone, harder for Americans to vote, and more difficult for workers to organize and negotiate with powerful corporations or the government.
Center for Media and Democracy • 520 University Avenue, Suite 260 • Madison, Wisconsin 53703
Phone: 608-260-9713 • Fax: 608-260-9714
Source URL: http://www.prwatch.org/news/2013/03/12023/wellpoint-and-bristol-myers-squibb-cut-ties-alec-making-44-corporations-out

Links:
[1] http://www.prwatch.org/users/35294/rebekah-wilce
[2] http://www.prwatch.org/topics/corporations
[3] http://www.prwatch.org/topics/politics
[4] http://www.prwatch.org/projects/alec-exposed
[5] http://www.addtoany.com/share_save?linkurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.prwatch.org%2Fnews%2F2013%2F03%2F12023%2Fwellpoint-and-bristol-myers-squibb-cut-ties-alec-making-44-corporations-out&linkname=WellPoint%20and%20Bristol-Myers%20Squibb%20Cut%20Ties%20to%20ALEC%2C%20Making%2044%20Corporations%20Out
[6] http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Bristol-Myers_Squibb
[7] http://investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/financials/financials.asp?ticker=BMY
[8] http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/WellPoint
[9] http://investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/financials/financials.asp?ticker=WLP
[10] http://alecexposed.org/
[11] http://www.wellpoint.com/AboutWellPoint/GovernmentRelations/PoliticalContributions/PW_E193417.html
[12] http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Corporations_that_Have_Cut_Ties_to_ALEC
[13] http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Blue_Cross_and_Blue_Shield_Association
[14] http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Procter_%26_Gamble
[15] http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Johnson_%26_Johnson
[16] http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Amgen
[17] http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Merck
[18] http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Sanofi
[19] http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Bank_of_America
[20] http://www.commoncause.org/atf/cf/%7BFB3C17E2-CDD1-4DF6-92BE-BD4429893665%7D/35-day_mailing_hhs%20New%20Orleans.pdf
[21] http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Health_and_Human_Services_Task_Force
[22] http://www.alecexposed.org/wiki/Health,_Pharmaceuticals,_and_Safety_Net_Programs
[23] http://alecexposed.org/w/images/3/3b/5S2-Drug_Liability_Act_Exposed.pdf
[24] http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/bristol-myers-squibb-makers-of-plavix-face-injury-lawsuits-56640607.html
[25] http://alecexposed.org/w/images/3/3b/5U2-FREEDOM_OF_CHOICE_IN_HEALTH_CARE_ACT_Exposed.pdf
[26] http://www.ourfuture.org/blog-entry/2009093922/wellpoint-poster-child-health-insurance-reform
[27] http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/632/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=10002
[28] http://alecexposed.org/wiki/ALEC_Exposed
[29] http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Legislators_Who_Have_Cut_Ties_to_ALEC
[30] http://prwatch.org/news/2012/11/11859/117-alec-members-voted-out-2012
 

John B. (141)
Wednesday March 20, 2013, 6:53 pm
Thanks J.L. for thr post and Kudos to WellPoint and Bristol-Myers Squibb for dumping ALEC. I would love to the number 100 by summer time. Read and noted.
 

JL A. (286)
Wednesday March 20, 2013, 6:58 pm
You are welcome John--that is a laudable goal! You cannot currently send a star to John because you have done so within the last day.
 

EDWARD G. MRKVICKA (0)
Wednesday March 20, 2013, 8:18 pm
it's sure nice to read some great news lately we had nothing but negative news for some time and i guess these big companies are finally smelling the coffee and waking up alec is nothing but big trouble hopfully everyone will see the light.
 

JL A. (286)
Wednesday March 20, 2013, 8:21 pm
You cannot currently send a star to EDWARD G. because you have done so within the last day.
 

Angelika R. (145)
Wednesday March 20, 2013, 8:33 pm
Thank you for urging the corporate leadership of ALEC to do what’s right for our democracy!

Your voice will be added to the many others who feel the same way. If you’re looking for more to do you can:

SPREAD THE WORD. Share information about ALEC through Facebook, e-mail and Twitter. Concerned groups and people in every state need this to investigate how ALEC corporations are rewriting laws for their own advantage. And, please join the conversation on Facebook!

EXPOSE ALEC LEGISLATORS. Uncover whether YOUR tax dollars are paying ALEC "dues." Expose politicians who accept “scholarships” from ALEC's corporate-funded coffers for fancy trips.

EXPOSE ALEC'S ROLE IN YOUR STATE HOUSE. Read these corporate-backed "model bills" and cross-check them with bills in your state legislature. Ask your local media to report on what you have found and write your local newspaper.

SHARE YOUR DISCOVERIES. Tweet what you learn with the hashtag #ALECexposed, and follow us on Twitter!

Act today to help your family, friends, and fellow Americans better understand how global corporations are trying to rewrite your rights.
 

Angelika R. (145)
Wednesday March 20, 2013, 8:34 pm
There's an ACTION -go take it! Thx JL !
 

Angelika R. (145)
Wednesday March 20, 2013, 8:37 pm
*** Tell ALEC Funders It's Time to Cut Ties! ***
 

JL A. (286)
Wednesday March 20, 2013, 8:40 pm
Thanks for highlighting the action for all Angelika! You are welcome. You cannot currently send a star to Angelika because you have done so within the last day.
 

Teresa Cowley (273)
Thursday March 21, 2013, 2:09 am
Thank you JL for the article and Angelika for highlighting the petition.
 

Past Member (0)
Thursday March 21, 2013, 8:15 am
dont know the company but sounds like its a good idea to cut ties with ALEC


thanks noted
 

Michael Kirkby (89)
Thursday March 21, 2013, 9:53 am
Good news indeed & the more the merrier.
 

Angelika R. (145)
Thursday March 21, 2013, 12:09 pm
That petition /action is ESSENTIAL-as long as corporate CEOs design your laws you remain screwed!! SIGN !!
 

Nelson Baker (0)
Thursday March 21, 2013, 2:55 pm
Good news.
 

Birgit W. (156)
Thursday March 21, 2013, 4:17 pm
Noted
 

JL A. (286)
Thursday March 21, 2013, 4:20 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Teresa, Carol, Michael, or Angelika because you have done so within the last day.
 

Lois Jordan (60)
Thursday March 21, 2013, 4:52 pm
Thank you so much for posting, JL. Big thanks to Angelika for the link. Gladly signed & shared.
I've been signing and sending these as I received them from the groups mentioned for the past several months. This has been a long process and I'm so grateful to these groups. (Color of Change, Common Cause, Greenpeace & People For the American Way). We ARE having some impact and must continue.
 

JL A. (286)
Thursday March 21, 2013, 6:17 pm
You are welcome Lois. You cannot currently send a star to Lois because you have done so within the last day
 

Robert K. (31)
Thursday March 21, 2013, 9:34 pm
One thing for certain, if ALEC is for it, it's an incredibly bad idea.
 
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