U.S. Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) Indicted: Effort to ‘Reform’ 340B Tainted by Pharmaceutical Industry Corruption

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WASHINGTON (August 8, 2018) AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) today reacted to the news that the U.S Justice Department has charged U.S. Representative Chris Collins (R-NY) for insider stock trading and lying to law enforcement agents about the crime.

In April of this year, AHF called on Rep. Collins to recuse himself from any issue affecting the pharmaceutical industry (See AHF release 4/27/18).  A Daily Beast news investigation published earlier that month outlined several conflicts of interest that Rep Collins had with regard to personal and family business dealings and legislation he subsequently introduced. Today’s announcement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York vindicates what AHF has said about Collins months before this indictment was announced.

AHF also noted U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s decision to remove Collins from the House Energy & Commerce Committee until the case has run its course—standard protocol for Members of Congress under indictment.

The bill of indictment also charges Collins’s son, Cameron Collins and the father of Cameron Colliin’s fiancee, Stephen Zarsky.  In a separate action, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) filed a civil action against Chris Collins, Cameron Collins, and Zarsky.

“Congressman Collins has been a leader in the drug industry’s attack on the 340B Drug Pricing Program. In the name of reform, he falsely accused the program of abuses without showing a shred of evidence. All the while, he himself was engaged in a secret conspiracy to enrich himself and his family by engaging in insider stock trading on drug industry publicly-traded securities,” said AHF President Michael Weinstein. “In fact, the entire 340B ‘reform’ project is tainted by Pharma corruption and its undue influence on Congress, and Collins is the father of this movement.”

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. said: “Congressman Christopher Collins sat on Innate Immunotherapeutics’ Board of Directors for a period of more than three years, spanning the run-up to the company’s clinical drug trial announcement in 2017.  When he received confidential information that the drug had failed its trial, he tipped off investors with whom he shared a personal relationship, as we allege.  Congressman Collins thought giving his family and friends a heads-up about material, nonpublic information would benefit them in the long run, but here’s a better inside tip for those who think they can play by different rules:  Access to this kind of information carries with it a significant responsibility, especially for those who hold a position of trust in our society.  Act honorably and in accordance with the law, and do not lie to a special agent of the FBI.”

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over 965,000 individuals in 41 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare and Instagram: @aidshealthcare

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US Rep. Collins (R-NY) Indicted: Effort to 'Reform' 340B Tainted by Pharmaceutical Industry Corruption