Congressional hopeful Val Hoyle took thousands from Eli Lilly, then worked to protect their insulin patent
Collin Anderson • September 22, 2022 11:20 a.m.
As state legislator, Oregon Democrat Val Hoyle received numerous donations from pharmaceutical companies during her eight years in office. But the money she received from Eli Lilly between 2011 and 2014, totaling $17,500, was three times more than any other donation it has received from a pharmaceutical company.
It stands out because in 2014, as those donations poured in, Hoyle added a arrangement, double the “Eli Lilly Amendment”, to an unrelated health care bill, aimed at protecting the pharmaceutical giant’s insulin patent from generic competitors. It became so controversial – both Democrats and Republicans said the “toxic” amendment could “kill” the bill – that it was eventually scrapped.
Now, as a candidate for Oregon’s fourth district, Hoyle says she’s running for Congress to fix “uncontrollable prescription costs,” and her opponent, Republican Alek Skarlatos, intends to challenge the intervention by Hoyle on behalf of the drug manufacturer.
“Big pharma and these health insurance companies know Val Hoyle is in their corner,” Skarlatos campaign manager Ross Purgason said. Free Washington Beacon. “Alek will work on solutions to reduce the cost of healthcare.”
Hoyle served at the Oregon House from 2009 to 2017 and later served as Oregon’s commissioner of labor. Skarlatos is a former Army National Guard soldier who shot to fame in 2015 after helping stop a gunman who opened fire on a train from Amsterdam to Paris. The shooter later confessed he wanted to “kill Americans” and Skarlatos was awarded the US Army Soldier’s Medal by former President Barack Obama.
They face off in a bid to replace 36-year-old incumbent Peter DeFazio (D., Ore.) who announced his impending retirement in December 2021. DeFazio narrowly beat Skarlatos in 2020, receiving 51% of the vote to 46% for Skarlatos. The Republican has raised $2.6 million to Hoyle’s $1.2 million.
Hoyle’s 2014 amendment limited a pharmacist’s ability to dispense generic insulin and would have “end[ed] cost our customers more,” the Oregon State Pharmacy Association said in 2014.
Then the majority leader of the Oregon House of Representatives, Hoyle introduced the amendment after accepting $12,500 in campaign cash from Eli Lilly, according to campaign finance records. The company lobbied explicitly for the provision and later gave Hoyle an additional $7,500. over the next three yearseven though the Democrat’s amendment was quietly removed from the bill following critical media coverage.
Now Hoyle sings a different tune. His campaign website laments “exorbitant deductibles and out-of-control prescribing costs” and says she “will ensure that every American has access to affordable, quality care when they need it.” And in 2018, Hoyle said she “is not afraid to take on powerful special interests in order to protect hard-working families in Oregon.”
The Hoyle campaign did not respond to a request for comment.