Letters Keep Daschle

To the editor:

During his campaign against Sen. Tim Johnson in 2002, John Thune told us he was working to make prescription drugs affordable. Yet a few months after he lost the election, on Feb. 5, 2003, Thune officially became a lobbyist with Arent Fox, a Washington, DC law firm that represents the big drug and insurance companies including PhRMA. These companies, that are largely to blame for the high cost of prescription drugs in the United States, should be held accountable for their exorbitant prices.

According to a recent report by the AARP and Families USA, brand name prescription drug prices have risen 27.6 percent since 2000, while inflation rose 9.3 percent. As the gap between drug prices and inflation increases, it is increasingly difficult for consumers, especially the elderly, to afford medications. Base prices of these drugs are rising by a higher percentage than the discounts offered by the Bush administration's Medicare drug card.

Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle has spoken out against companies' price gouging and has criticized the administration's inadequate drug card. With his prescription drug plan Sen. Daschle offers an alternative to make it possible for us to afford prescription drugs.

John and Kimberly Thune filed a joint income tax return showing a total income of $456,291 in 2003, including $270,010 from the Thune Group, a consulting and lobbying company, and $186,080 in salary from his lobbying job with Arent Fox, for a total of $450,000. Thune's ties to the big drug companies are clear and should alarm voters.

If elected, John Thune would represent the interest of big money, not ordinary South Dakotans. We must keep Tom Daschle in Washington to make life better for all of us.


Norma C. Wilson


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