Which industry spends more than any other in Washington? Big Pharma
Over the last 20 years no industry spent more than Pharmaceuticals and Health products on lobbying and campaign contributions. Fully $4,700 million dollars traveled from pharmaceutical giants to politicians, parties and lobbyists.
In 2018 the citizens of the US spent $345 billion on prescription drugs in pharmacies… which works out to about $1,000 per person per year. Adjusted for inflation, that has doubled since 1999 which is not that long ago. Despite competition, discovery and efficiency gains, Americans are spending more than ever.
Maybe Americans are getting much better painkillers, antibiotics, and blood pressure medications than ever before, or maybe government regulations are doing more to protect profits rather than people?
All that lobbying is quite legal, but it isn’t enough. Somehow Big Pharma keep getting caught being naughty as well, lying and hiding things from customers. And if there is no reputational damage from outright deceit and fraud, perhaps the billion-dollar fines are just another cost on the balance sheet. (If only The Media wanted to shine a light on that…)
The Black Pigeon lists some crimes:
Oliver Wouters study on Lobbying…
Lobbying Expenditures and Campaign Contributions by the Pharmaceutical and Health Product Industry in the United States, 1999-2018
From 1999 to 2018, the pharmaceutical and health product industry recorded $4.7 billion—an average of $233 million per year—in lobbying expenditures at the federal level, more than any other industry. Of the spending, the trade group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America accounted for $422 million (9.0%), and the other 19 top companies and organizations in this industry accounted for $2.2 billion (46.8%). The industry spent $414 million on contributions to candidates in presidential and congressional elections, national party committees, and outside spending groups. Of this amount, $22 million went to presidential candidates and $214 million went to congressional candidates. Of the 20 senators and 20 representatives who received the most contributions, 39 belonged to committees with jurisdiction over health-related legislative matters, 24 of them in senior positions. The industry contributed $877 million to state candidates and committees, of which $399 million (45.5%) went to recipients in California and $287 million (32.7%) went to recipients in 9 other states. In years in which key state referenda on reforms in drug pricing and regulation were being voted on, there were large spikes in contributions to groups that opposed or supported the reforms.
Which company had the highest spend on lobbying and campaign “contributions”? That would be Pfizer, with $220 million from 1999 to 2018. But there are plenty of others following suit: Amgen spent $190m, Eli Lily — $162m, BIO — $150m, Merck — $143m and so on….
What does Big Pharma spend on advertising in The Legacy Media and on Facebook and Twitter and does that help buy one almost non-stop long advert dressed up as “news”?
h/t Bill in AZ