Kaiser Health News
Jay Hancock December 19, 2017
Facing bipartisan hostility over high drug prices in an election year, the pharma industry’s biggest trade group boosted revenue by nearly a fourth last year and spread the millions collected among hundreds of lobbyists, politicians and patient groups, new filings show.
It was the biggest surge for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, known as PhRMA, since the group took battle stations to advance its interests in 2009 during the run-up to the Affordable Care Act.
“Does that surprise you?” said Billy Tauzin, the former PhRMA CEO who ran the organization a decade ago as Obamacare loomed. Whenever Washington seems interested in limiting drug prices, he said, “PhRMA has always responded by increasing its resources.”
The group, already one of the most powerful trade organizations in any industry, collected $271 million in member dues and other income in 2016. That was up from $220 million the year before, according to its latest disclosure with the Internal Revenue Service.
PhRMA spent $7 million last year to prepare its ubiquitous “Go Boldly” ad campaign and gave millions to politicians who were up for election in both parties in dozens of states. It lavished more than $2 million on scores of groups representing patients with various diseases — many of them dealing with high drug costs.
Some of the biggest patient-group checks went to the American Autoimmune Related Disease Association, for $260,000; the American Lung Association, for $110,000; the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, for $136,150; and the Lupus Foundation of America, for $253,500.
PhRMA also gave big money to national political groups financing congressional, presidential and state candidates. The conservative-leaning American Action Network got $6.1 million. The Republican Governors Association got $301,375. Its Democratic counterpart got $350,000.
PhRMA’s state and federal lobbying spending rose by more than two-thirds from the previous year, to $57 million.
Thank You Mr Hancock and KHN