Posted by Rebekah Wilce on October 02, 2012

Pharmaceutical company Sanofi (formerly Sanofi-Aventis), a $33.4 billion a year company based in Paris, France, is cutting ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

The company's decision was announced at a press conference by People for the American Way (PFAW) in New Jersey upon the release of the new report, "The Voice of Corporate Special Interest in the Halls of New Jersey's Legislature." (The Center for Media and Democracy/ALECexposed helped prepare that report, along with other organizations.)

Jack Cox, Sanofi head of media relations, confirmed the news with CMD.

Sanofi's blood thinner, PlavixSanofi has been a member of ALEC's Health and Human Services Task Force. The task force has adopted "model" legislation opposing health insurance reforms and making it harder for those injured by pharmaceuticals, as well as for the family members of those killed, to hold pharmaceutical companies liable. Sanofi was also a "Vice Chairman" level sponsor of the 2011 ALEC Annual Conference (this level of sponsorship cost $25,000 in 2010) and funded ALEC's Arizona "Scholarship Fund" to the tune of $3,000 in 2010, in addition to funding other state ALEC scholarships and previously co-chairing a state for ALEC. ALEC "scholarship funds" provide a vehicle for ALEC's corporate members to buy influence with legislators through gifts of flights, hotel rooms, and other perks denominated as "ALEC scholarships," as CMD has reported.

Marge Baker, Executive Vice President for Policy and Program at PFAW Foundation, told CMD, "ALEC isn't just bad for democracy, it's bad for business. Dozens of major corporations have learned about the harmful public policy that ALEC advocates and have withdrawn their support. We're thrilled to hear that Sanofi has dropped ALEC, and hope that other companies follow suit."

Sanofi joins 40 other corporations that have cut ties to ALEC in recent months, including Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Wal-Mart, and Sanofi competitor Merck & Co., Inc. pharmaceuticals. CMD and advocacy groups including Common Cause, ColorOfChange.org, Progress Now! affiliates, and Greenpeace are now asking State Farm, eBay, and Duke Energy to stop funding ALEC.

Bill Moyers presents "United States of ALEC," a report on the most influential corporate-funded political force most of America has never heard of -- ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council.