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Sanofi Also Linked to FreedomWorks, Group That Urged Healthcare Town Hall Disruptions; Armey Quits DLA Piper

Sanofi-Aventis, like Bristol-Myers Squibb, funded DLA Piper, the lobbying firm whose strategic adviser Dick Armey is chairman of FreedomWorks, the anti-healthcare reform group that has urged activists to show up at healthcare town hall meetings to shout down pro-reform politicians.

Army resigned from DLA Piper Friday, according to the New York Times, under pressure from DLA Piper's drug clients who are embarrassed at Armey's activities.

Sanofi spent $60,000 with DLA Piper this year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics lobbying database. Sanofi has much at stake if healthcare reform allows Medicare Part D to negotiate drug prices: Sanofi earned $137 million in annual windfall revenues from higher drug prices under Medicare, according to a Congressional report.

It was clear that Armey's presence at DLA Piper was becoming troublesome for BMS and its other clients; BNET received phone calls and a statement Thursday from the pair insisting that it was inaccurate to say that Armey and FreedomWorks were acting at BMS or DLA Piper's request. BNET noted that even if that was the case, the mere appearance of funding moving from BMS (and Sanofi) to DLA Piper, which employed Armey, who controls FreedomWorks, was unattractive.