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Menendez 'hostile' on call on behalf of donor

Menendez 'hostile' on call on behalf of donor”

A former Obama administration official described Sen.

Menendez didn't mention Melgen by name either time, Blum testified, though then-Senate Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid mentioned at the 2012 meeting that he had become familiar with the billing issue after talking to Melgen.

Melgen in August 2009 was asked to repay almost $9 million in Medicare reimbursements for drawing multiple doses of Lucentis, an expensive medication for macular degeneration, from what were supposed to be single-dose vials and billing for each dose separately.

Menendez is charged with accepting free plane rides and luxury hotel stays from Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen in exchange for his official influence. Blum testified that once again, he held firm in his position that the agency was correct in its assessment.

According to Blum, the 2009 phone call started off cordially, but soon turned icy.

"[Menendez's] tone was very angry, very hostile". The tone was very angry.

After the 2012 meeting with Sebelius, Blum said, Menendez said he "was going to use the authority he had as a member of the Senate finance committee" to continue to press the issue. That committee has partial jurisdiction over HHS.

Blum recalled Menendez arguing that Medicare's reimbursement policy for Lucentis was inconsistent when compared to its reimbursement policy for similar drugs. That questioning was met with frequent objections by the Justice Department, claiming it was beyond the scope of the case. Bob Menendez of New Jersey and a wealthy friend are seeking to call the prosecution's timeline in question. In that sense, he said his interactions with Menendez differed from nearly every other encounter he had with members of Congress, who typically inquired with CMS about national policy affecting many people or a specific issue affecting their home state or district.

Defense attorneys in response to that testimony attempted to show that prosecutors were cherry-picking donations to feature, describing a history of Melgen donations to Menendez causes for years before the alleged conspiracy in this case began.



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