MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- U.S. Senate candidate Mark Dayton says he sold stock he owned in a third drug company based in Dublin, Ireland, as soon as he was alerted by his financial advisers that it was in his portfolio.
Dayton said Saturday that he sold $51,686 of Elan Corp. PLC stock on Sept. 6, the day after he sold about $500,000 worth of stock in pharmaceutical giant Abbott Laboratories.
Dayton sold his stock in another company, Novartis, in May, shortly after becoming a Senate candidate, because he knew he would be heavily critical of drug companies for charging what he calls exorbitant prices.
Elan, a pharmaceutical and medical products company, makes a number of drugs for treatment of such diseases as Parkinson's and arthritis and has several drugs in various stages of clinical testing, including a drug to treat chronic pain. The company also makes medical equipment to administer drugs.
When Dayton sold the Abbott stock, he said that was the only drug stock left in his portfolio. When asked about Elan by the Star Tribune last week, Dayton said he sold the stock without learning its name when he was alerted by his financial advisers.
Incumbent Republican Sen. Rod Grams has been running a television ad criticizing Dayton's drug stock ownership.
All of Dayton's stock holdings -- including the Elan stock -- were listed on a public financial disclosure statement he filed in June with the U.S. Senate. Candidates are required to report broad ranges of investments in publicly held companies, but they are not required to identify what the companies do.
Dayton said he received the Elan stock as a result of a merger with Liposome Company Inc.
"I understood Liposome to be a medical research company, whose stock I received in a partnership distribution and therefore never researched myself," he said.
Liposome, which made a number of cancer drugs used worldwide, including treatments for breast cancer, was acquired by Elan in March. Campaign director Sharon Ruhland said that Dayton's advisers were alerted to the merger in August, but that Dayton was unaware of the merger.
Ruhland said Dayton stopped handling his own finances shortly after becoming a candidate, leaving the management of his portfolio to his advisers. Dayton has said he is worth between $17 million and $22 million.
Ruhland noted that Dayton was never under any legal obligation to sell his pharmaceutical stocks. "He's broken no laws. He just thought it would be the right thing to do," she said.
"None of this has ever had any impact on what Mark says about the high price of prescription drugs," she said. "He has never intentionally deceived anyone on this subject."
"If someone believes I am not totally determined to lead the fight for lower prescription drug prices, if I am elected to the Senate, I say: Try me!" Dayton said.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.