Streetwise Professor

September 21, 2015

The Wicked Witch of the West Wing Brings on an SWP Acid Flashback Moment

Filed under: Economics,History,Politics — The Professor @ 2:23 pm

I had an acid flashback moment when I read this:

Biotechnology stocks took a sharp dive Monday after Hillary Clinton said she would propose a plan to counteract “price gouging” by drug makers.

Ms. Clinton, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for president, was responding to New York Times article published Sunday that told of a price increase for a drug used to treat a life-threatening parasitic infection. The cost of the drug was recently increase from $13.50 a tablet to $750, the story said.

Why? Because Hillary wreaked havoc on pharmaceutical stock prices 23 years ago, when Bill was running for President. Indeed, this is more than a matter of academic interest to me, because I played a role in the fallout from that. In 1993, I wrote a study, titled “Political Rhetoric and Stock Price Volatility,” that contributed to one of the early Clinton scandals. For you see, while blasting pharma companies, Hillary was also invested in a hedge fund that shorted health care stocks, and I documented using standard event study methodology that her speeches led to economically and statistically significant declines in pharmaceutical company stock prices.

In large part as a result of the study, Hillary was subjected to an official ethics inquiry. Her friend-and arguably more-Vince Foster was working on this and other nascent Hillary scandals when he put a bullet in his brain on the ramparts of Fort Marcy. On a more personal note, the study was the direct cause of the end of my employment at the University of Michigan Business School.

For details about the official fallout of this long-ago and long-forgotten study, see footnote 3 and the associated text in the Senate Whitewater Report. For how this played out for me, see this old SWP post. (As an aside, Sara Ellison and Wally Mullin expanded on my study in an article that was published in the JLE.)

As for Hillary, I think an inquiry into her investment holdings is warranted. Given the sleaze of the Clinton Foundation, and her disdain for the rules that little people follow as illustrated by the Home Brew Server, I would not be in the least surprised if the (once, and hopefully not future) Wicked Witch of the West Wing has been less than punctilious in the separation of her financial and political interests.

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  1. Not having followed the NYT link, this is guesswork:

    1. At $13 a tab, the parasitic infection is very rare.
    2. It affects poor people in the tropics, and is free there but has to be subsidised in US by govt / insurers /Gates
    3. The FDA has recently turned down an alternative drug, less efficacious or more efficacious but with more side effects
    4. The $750 a tab price is bollocks.

    On a more jocular note, thank God we in the UK are not subject to Cherie Blair running for Prime Minister.

    Comment by James Harries — September 21, 2015 @ 5:18 pm

  2. oops

    Comment by James Harries — September 21, 2015 @ 9:57 pm

  3. […] Umm: […]

    Pingback by Anyone want to have a little word with Hillary’s broker? | Tim Worstall — September 22, 2015 @ 11:03 pm

  4. As long as the “more” was before she met Huma it is not necessarily a sign of moral turpitude.

    I can understand his existential decision. Who could live with the memory of waking up in the morning with a huge hangover and finding Hillary next to you.

    Comment by pahoben — September 24, 2015 @ 8:14 am

  5. James Harries, it all boils down to regulation.

    Without the draconian regulations such price hikes would be impossible.

    Comment by Methinks — September 24, 2015 @ 12:48 pm

  6. […] If you think a politician can save you, you are probably wrong.  As Icahn also points out, many of them are not acting in your best interest but in the best interest of themselves.  Pirrong also notes this, […]

    Pingback by The Icahn Speaks Points and Figures — September 29, 2015 @ 8:33 am

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