After the violence in Charlottesville, Kenneth C. Frazier, the chairman and CEO of Merck, has resigned from President Donald Trump’s American Manufacturing Council today.
In a stunning statement, Frazier announced, “As CEO of Merck and as a matter of personal conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.”
So why did Frazier resign anyway? Trump reminded us (below) that this is likely a PR stunt, as Merck doesn’t want Trump to keep his campaign promise of keeping the cost of prescription drugs low:
Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President’s Manufacturing Council,he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 14, 2017
As Forbes reports:
The exchange is striking, not just because it’s an unprecedented Twitter flame war between a president and a sitting CEO, but also because Frazier is one of only a handful of African-Americans who run major for-profit companies. But it’s also not a surprise to anyone who has followed Frazier’s career: he has record of taking moral stands and engaging in big fights. Case in point: In his early days working as a Merck lawyer and as the head of the company’s head of public affairs, he defended a man on death row who was eventually released.
Frazier grew up in inner city Philadelphia. His father was a janitor with a limited education and, Frazier says, “one of the most intelligent men I’ve met in my life.” Frazier’s father devoured two newspapers a day and, later on, his three kids’ college textbooks.
The young Frazier idolized Thurgood Marshall and went to Penn State and then Harvard Law School, both on scholarship. He joined the law firm Drinker Biddle & Reath in Philadelphia in 1978, and started working with Merck with a legal victory that involved a company that sold large air-conditioning units for the tops of buildings – a business the company no longer owns.
In 1991, Frazier took the case of James Willie “Bo” Cochran. Cochran had been arrested and accused of murdering an assistant manager at a Birmingham grocery store in 1976. While Frazier was working on the case in 1992, he was hired as the general counsel of Astra Merck Group, a joint venture that sold the blockbuster heartburn drug Prilosec. He was brought into the Merck mothership to run public affairs in 1994. Cochran’s conviction was overturned in 1995, after he had spent 19 years on death row, and he was retried and found not guilty in 1997.
Frazier was made Merck’s corporate counsel – a company’s chief lawyer – in 1999. His biggest task was defending Merck from an onslaught of lawsuits relating to its handling of the painkiller Vioxx, which was withdrawn from the market in 2004 after large studies showed it caused heart attacks. Some Wall Street analysts forecast that Merck could face a $50 billion legal bill from the drug, but Frazier insisted on fighting case by case, resulting in a total liability of less than $5 billion.
A cold, calculated move by a pharmaceutical company to virtue-signal to liberals. They have bought into the lies about Trump, and are making sure we know about it:
— Merck (@Merck) August 14, 2017
What do you think about Ken Frazier resigning from Trump’s American Manufacturing Council? Please leave us a comment (below) and tell us.