What’s the connection between sky high drug prices and the millions that Big Pharma spends on lobbying to protect its profits? How much do pharmaceutical CEOs make? How much is spent on blocking reforms that would make drugs and healthcare affordable to millions of Americans? Where do the political donations go? Follow the money with this relationship map.
$506 million for lobbying
Pharmaceutical companies’ top lobbying group funneled millions of dollars to prominent “dark money” groups that pushed industry friendly messages to lawmakers and 2020 voters. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America raised nearly $527 million last year and spent roughly $506 million, new tax returns obtained by OpenSecrets reveal. That’s a record haul for the organization, which is funded by the world’s most powerful pharmaceutical companies.
The trade association made its largest political donation of 2019 — $4.5 million — to the American Action Network, a dark money group that backs House Republicans. The conservative nonprofit and its pharmaceutical industry donor share disdain for proposals to regulate the price of prescription drugs.
The same year it received PhRMA’s donation, the American Action Network launched several multi-million dollar ad campaigns opposing President Donald Trump’s proposal to let Medicare negotiate drug prices. This year, the group launched multi-million dollar ad campaigns opposing House Democrats’ bill to lower drug prices and ads boosting vulnerable Republicans who supported an alternative bill considered much friendlier to drugmakers.
The alliance between drugmakers and GOP groups isn’t new. PhRMA has given $14.6 million to the American Action Network since 2016. In that time, the American Action Network became a major contributor to GOP causes. During the 2020 election cycle, it gave $26.4 million to the Congressional Leadership Fund, the House Republicans’ top super PAC that helped unseat several freshman Democrats.” – Open Secrets
Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Pharma)
“Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Pharma) has come out strongly in favor of drug companies continuing to rip off seniors and Medicare, saying: “The Inflation Reduction Act’s socialist drug price controls will stunt the development of lifesaving treatments and cures while granting the government more unnecessary control over Americans’ lives.”
Tennessee State Representative Gloria Johnson pushed back on X, asking: “Did a Big Pharma CEO write these talking points for you on the back of a campaign check?” The answer may well be “yes!” as Blackburn — along with most other Republicans nationwide — takes big bucks from the industry. The Pentagon, the Veterans Administration, and every hospital in America negotiates prices with the drug industry, as does the government of every other developed country in the world.
And those bribes wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for five corrupt Republicans on the Supreme Court — with the tie-breaking vote cast by Clarence Thomas — legalizing the practice of companies and billionaires paying off politicians and Supreme Court justices with their Citizens United decision. Overturning that cancer in our political system must be Job One the next time Democrats take control of the House, Senate, and White House.” – The Hartmann Report
Big Pharma lobbying
The industry succeeded in narrowing the scope of the new law, with only 10 drugs eligible for negotiation in 2023. But the effort to stop the administration from using that authority to target blockbuster drugs failed spectacularly, as the White House list includes medications that seniors spend billions on in out-of-pocket costs alone, never mind the fees paid by Medicare itself. The US accounts for just shy of 15 percent of the global insulation market, their populace pays for nearly half of the pharmaceutical industry’s annual insulin revenue. – Independent
TakeAway: Stop Big Pharma greed that’s killing Americans. Hold your reps accountable for their votes. Shouldn’t they care more for their voters than their Big Pharma donors?
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