Celgene Exec Takes Leave to Work on Trump Campaign

Published: Jul 21, 2016

Celgene Exec Takes Leave to Work on Trump Campaign July 19, 2016
By Alex Keown, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

SUMMIT, N.J. – A Celgene executive is returning to the world of politics.

Rich Bagger, executive vice president of corporate affairs and market access, is leaving the company to work for the Donald Trump presidential campaign, BioCentury reported Monday afternoon. Bagger will work on Trump’s transitional team. What his role is though has yet to be publicly announced. Neither Celgene nor the Trump campaign responded to BioCentury’s requests for confirmation and additional information. Trump, a billionaire real estate mogul, will accept the Republican nomination for president this week during the Republican National Convention being held in Cleveland.

Bagger has a long history in the political world. Most recently he served as chief of staff for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is also part of the Trump team. Prior to his tenure as governor’s right hand, he served one year as a New Jersey state senator and more than a decade as a member of the New Jersey General Assembly, the lower house of the state legislature. Bagger also served as the mayor of Westfield, N.J. and had a brief stint in Washington, D.C. as a staff member of the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Aging.

In addition to his long history as a public servant, Bagger also has an extensive history in the life sciences industry, spending 16 years at Pfizer in various roles, including a senior vice president, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Bagger’s rich pharma history will likely be tapped during the campaign as pharmaceutical prices are likely to become a hot topic, particularly as several companies have come under federal scrutiny for pricing tactics. Several companies, including Valeant Pharmaceuticals , Gilead Sciences and Turing Pharmaceuticals have been the subjects of recent Congressional investigations. Another company that has recently come under Congressional scrutiny is California-based blood testing company Theranos, which is facing an inquiry over its criticized lab practices and decision to void blood-testing data impacting tens of thousands of patients.

Trump’s Democratic opponent in the general election, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, will likely bring up the high price of many prescription drugs. In the fall of 2015 Clinton criticized Martin Shkreli, the former chief executive officer of Turing Pharmaceuticals, for a 5,000 percent price hike on the 65-year-old toxoplasmosis drug, Daraprim. In denouncing the price spike, Clinton proposed to cap monthly out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs at $250. Additionally, at the time of the primary campaign, Clinton’s campaign said she would also seek to curb the amount of money drug companies can spend on advertising. The campaign said part of the plan would also seek to ensure federal regulation through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that would ensure all prescription drug advertisements would provide “clear information to consumers.”

At the time Trump himself also weighed in on Shkreli, saying he thought the increase was disgusting and expressed a negative opinion of Shkreli

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