Menendez Stands with War Veterans; Blasts Trump Republican Bob Hugin for Putting Profits Ahead of Veterans Health Care

Menendez for Senate and Ryan Alexander · October 26, 2018

Nutley, NJ – Backed by a dozen New Jersey war veterans, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez today highlighted his record of continuously standing up to protect the welfare of our nation’s heroes and blasted Republican Bob Hugin who, as CEO of Celgene, put personal and company profits ahead of veterans health care.

“As Americans, our duty to our veterans is about more than simply saying ‘thank you for your service.’ It’s about delivering on the promise of a grateful nation,” said Sen. Menendez.  “It’s about providing our men and women in uniform with the health care and services they need when they come home; making sure our veterans do not have to suffer in silence when they struggle with PTSD or depression; holding the VA accountable for delivering high-quality care.”

Senator Menendez was joined by Essex County veterans at the Nutley VFW Post #493 including Justin Constantine, a retired Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel who was wounded in combat. 

“We need someone serving us in the United States Senate that we can trust to protect our veterans and to ensure that the people willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for their country are taken care of and treated with dignity,” said Justin Constantine. “We know that that voice is Bob Menendez. He’s stood by us his entire career serving the people of New Jersey, and he’ll stand by us now as we face new and unprecedented challenges.” 

Menendez was also joined by Jack Kane, Nutley VFW Post #493 Commander and former commander of the New Jersey statewide VFW.

“Serving my country in the United States Army was the greatest honor of my life,” said Jack Kane. “We need someone serving us in the United States Senate that we can trust to protect our veterans, to ensure that the people willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for their country are taken care of and treated with dignity. We know that voice is Bob Menendez.”

Menendez underscored how former big drug company CEO Bob Hugin preyed on vulnerable Americans suffering from cancer and was accused by the U.S. Department of Justice and states like New Jersey for defrauding Medicare, Medicaid and Tri-Care, the Veterans health system. 

“It’s simply unconscionable. Bob Hugin was accused of lying to patients – some of them the very men and women who served our country with bravery and distinction – and their doctors, about the potentially deadly side-effects of his drugs; of marketing them for unapproved purposes; and for paying off physicians to prescribe them,” Menendez said.

Rather than go to trial, Hugin paid $280 to settle the case. 

Further, as Hugin’s company hiked the price of its flagship cancer drug, Revlimid, charging Tri-Care more and more, the VA was forced to cover the growing costs:  “Think about it. Just so Bob Hugin could buy another mansion or yacht, the VA had to shift precious resources it otherwise could have used to cut wait times, expand mental health services, hire more doctors, develop cutting-edge prosthetics for our Wounded Warriors, and simply care for more veterans.”

“I’m a Marine Corp veteran,” said Justin Constantine. “And this Marine is supporting Bob Menendez for Senate.”

Bob Menendez meeting with veterans in Nutley

Senator Menendez has a long record of working to support America’s veterans:

  • Introduced and passed legislation bestowing New Jersey Monuments Man Harry Ettlinger with the Congressional Gold Medal 
  • Voted to increase the VA budget by $5 billion this year – to a record of nearly $86 billion – and increase funding for electronic modernization of the system. 
  • When South Jersey veterans were forced to travel over 90 miles to the VA Medical Center in Delaware for certain care and tests because of the lack of staffing at the Northfield, NJ VA clinic, Bob pressed the VA to take emergency measures. The VA added key staffing positions to the Northfield clinic.
  • Supported the passage of the VA MISSION Act to reform the VA’s community care programs, recruit new medical personnel, and modernize services.
  • Authored and passed the Guardians of America’s Freedom Medal, the first official military commendation in our nation’s history recognizing the heroics of military working dogs and their handlers. 
  • Cosponsored the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act which would correct an injustice in which veterans exposed to Agent Orange are being denied care simply because they were serving off the shores of Vietnam instead of physically on Vietnam.
  • Supported the Veterans Choice Act which aimed to reduce the patient wait times at Veterans Healthcare Facilities and improve the quality of care, while also increasing veterans’ access to care through eligible non-VA providers. The bill also secured funding to build a new VA Outpatient Clinic in Brick, NJ.
  • Cosponsored legislation to strengthen mental health services for veterans.
  • Cosponsored legislation to address gender disparities at the VA to ensure that women veterans are getting equitable care.
  • Fought to pass legislation to extend and expand education benefits to veterans.
  • Cosponsored legislation to ensure wounded veterans receive military retired pay and full disability compensation.
  • Strongly supports repealing the military widow’s tax which harms the families of fallen soldier. 
  • Cosponsored legislation to repair the flawed VA appeals process.
  • Fought to secure timely and predictable funding for the veterans’ healthcare system.