GORE: Accuses Bradley of Pandering to Drug Companies
Vice President Al Gore yesterday accused Democratic rival Bill Bradley of "consistently sid[ing] with drug companies at the expense of consumers" during his years in the Senate. Gore told the Los Angeles Times that while he "was fighting for the consumers," Bradley, who represented New Jersey, where many drug manufacturers are headquartered, "was understandably ... one of their principal advocates." According to Gore, Bradley supported legislation to extend companies' drug patents, which "would have delayed the approval of generic competition and 'artificially kept prices very, very high.'" Bradley spokesperson Eric Hauser dismissed Gore's claim, maintaining, "In making decisions about health care or drug policy, Sen. Bradley always followed what he thought was best for the people." Hauser added that the former senator's current proposal for a Medicare prescription drug benefit urges the use of generic drugs.
Gore vs. Big Tobacco?
In the Los Angeles Times interview, Gore also said he may raise federal tobacco taxes to "help expand access to health insurance" and would "aggressively" support FDA regulation of nicotine in cigarettes. "[A]ccording to many scientists, [nicotine is] more addictive than heroin or cocaine. And it certainly kills a lot more people," he said (Chen, 12/21).