Attorney General Brad Schimel should immediately return the $2,500 campaign donation from the drug company Pfizer, a manufacturer of opiates and a substitute that is increasingly associated with overdose deaths, Wisconsin Justice Initiative Action said Tuesday.
"Other states are suing opioid makers; Brad Schimel is taking their money," WJIA Executive Director Gretchen Schuldt said. "It's bad form and terrible policy."
The Pew Charitable Trusts reports that gabapentin, a Pfizer product, was associated with more than a third of Kentucky overdose deaths in 2017. Some states have moved to clamp down on the drug's distribution.
Wisconsin, like the rest of the country, is in the midst of an opiate crisis. Last year, 883 people in the state died of opioid overdoses.
Schimel's most recent campaign finance report shows that Pfizer PAC, the big pharma stalwart's political action committee, donated $2,500 to Schimel in August.
Pfizer has directed lobbyists to fight proposals to tax opioids as a way to fund responses to the devastation the drugs are creating, according to news reports.
"Pfizer would rather fund Brad Schimel," Schuldt said. "Undoubtedly, it will get a better return on investment."