U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, says corporate interests are paying for political ads opposing her in next month’s election. She tells Missourinet affiliate KWIX in Moberly the companies want to ensure they can increase prices of the 20 most common drugs in Medicare by 10 times the inflation rate annually.

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill and Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley debate at KETC-TV in St. Louis on October 18, 2018, as people watch in an outdoor public viewing area. (Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI)

“I actually think I’d win this election in a walk if people knew who was paying for the ads against me,” she says.

McCaskill says the amount of greed that walks the halls of the nation’s Capitol in Washington, D.C. is stunning.

“Standing up to them is pretty important. Josh Hawley is embraced by the pharmaceutical industry,” she says. “I am not. They would like to take me out because I have been a thorn in their side.”

She has taken on drug makers in a variety of ways, including her investigation finding that the top three pharmaceutical manufacturers have shipped $1.6 billion in addictive prescription drugs to Missouri from 2012 to 2017. According to McCaskill’s report, the volume distributed by McKesson, AmerisourceBergen and Cardinal Health represents more than 260 doses for every Missourian during that period.

Another report released this year by McCaskill’s office says the top five opioid manufacturers gave nearly $9 million in five years to 14 pain management groups. She says the organizations have often “amplified messages favorable to increased opioid use”.

McCaskill, who faces Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley, is considered one of the most vulnerable U.S. Senate incumbents in November’s election.

Last year, Hawley launched an investigation about the marketing of opioid drugs by ten pharmaceutical companies. Hawley alleges they fraudulently misrepresented serious risks posed by opioids they distribute and sell.

Kansas City television station KMBC is airing a debate today at 9 p.m. between McCaskill and Hawley.

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