Breaking News
August 17, 2018 - Bacterial activity in child’s mouth may serve as biomarkers for autism spectrum disorder
August 17, 2018 - Scripps Research scientists uncover new approach for treating thrombocytopenia
August 17, 2018 - Mathematical model shows the influence of human behavior on spread of infectious diseases
August 17, 2018 - Valley Hospital achieves Magnet recognition for fourth consecutive time
August 17, 2018 - Researchers describe link between poor oocyte development and oxidative stress in obese mice
August 17, 2018 - Hospitals battle for control over fast-growing heart-valve procedure
August 17, 2018 - AHA: Home-Delivered Meals Keep Heart Failure Patients Out of Hospital
August 17, 2018 - In Southern Mozambique, only half of people diagnosed with HIV enroll in medical care
August 17, 2018 - Researchers discuss techniques to help combat growing epidemic of obesity
August 17, 2018 - Researchers develop novel statistical method to evaluate gene-to-gene interactions linked with cancer
August 17, 2018 - Island Fertility joins Stony Brook Community Medical to provide comprehensive fertility care
August 17, 2018 - Study shows link between thinning of the retina and early sign of Parkinson’s disease
August 17, 2018 - Digital birth control app gets FDA nod
August 17, 2018 - FDA grants approval for first generic version of epinephrine auto-injector
August 17, 2018 - Federal advisory group publishes recommendations on prevention of acute, chronic pain
August 17, 2018 - 3D-printed human body parts to be used as teaching aids for surgical training
August 17, 2018 - U.S. murder, suicide rates climbing again
August 17, 2018 - This is your brain on… roller coasters?
August 17, 2018 - Report discusses whether all newborns should undergo genetic sequencing
August 17, 2018 - UCR receives 2018 Inspiring Programs in STEM Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine
August 17, 2018 - Researchers publish new paper on developing vaccine candidates for Helminthic parasites
August 17, 2018 - Researchers develop new method to diagnose broad range of cancers using malaria protein
August 17, 2018 - Female mosquitoes quickly evolve selective mating behavior when faced with threats
August 17, 2018 - FDA Grants Breakthrough Therapy Designation to Daiichi Sankyo’s FLT3 Inhibitor Quizartinib for Relapsed/Refractory FLT3-ITD AML
August 17, 2018 - Resistance training and exercise motivation go hand-in-hand
August 17, 2018 - A lesson for future doctors: Listen to and learn from your patients
August 17, 2018 - NUS study discovers a bidirectional regulator and shines light on A-to-I RNA editing in cancer cells
August 17, 2018 - Research shows link between high blood levels of omega-3s and better brain function in children
August 17, 2018 - Researchers propose new theory for how rare gene mutations cause Alzheimer’s disease
August 17, 2018 - New project to combat DMD-related fibrosis receives major funding boost
August 17, 2018 - Digital psychiatric therapy can ‘rewire’ the brain in children with ADHD, study shows
August 17, 2018 - Psychologist to assess how the brain maintains precise short-term and long-term memories
August 17, 2018 - Eating white button mushrooms could improve regulation of glucose in the liver
August 17, 2018 - Scientists identify mutational signatures in ovarian cancer
August 17, 2018 - Sun Pharma receives U.S. FDA approval for CEQUA to treat patients with dry eye disease
August 17, 2018 - Teva Announces Updated Indication and Vial Presentation for Granix (tbo-filgrastim) Injection in United States
August 17, 2018 - Study shows DNA methylation related to liver disease among obese patients
August 17, 2018 - Life on the border: Back at Stanford, ready to pitch in
August 17, 2018 - New device for accurately placing hemodialysis catheters on kidney patients
August 17, 2018 - New strategy accelerates, automates process of prototype molecule optimization
August 17, 2018 - Study finds role of autoimmunity in development of COPD
August 17, 2018 - Researchers transform research tool to study neuronal function
August 17, 2018 - Cognitive impairment does not equate to unhappiness in older adults
August 17, 2018 - Peer Comparisons Can Decrease Risky Prescribing Patterns
August 17, 2018 - Susceptible genes identified for childhood chronic kidney disease
August 17, 2018 - Research uncovers miscarriage cause, identifies potential targets for treatment
August 17, 2018 - Bacterial armor could be new target for antibiotics | News Center
August 17, 2018 - FDA expands approval of Vertex’ cystic fibrosis medicine to treat children aged 12 to
August 17, 2018 - Give Your Child a Head Start With Math
August 17, 2018 - Ground-breaking study tests whether rejected livers can be made viable for transplantation
August 16, 2018 - New algorithm could improve diagnosis of rare diseases | News Center
August 16, 2018 - SCHILLER introduces latest generation of ECG device, CARDIOVIT AT-102 G2
August 16, 2018 - Proper treatment, refraining from smoking can reduce heart disease risk from type 2 diabetes
August 16, 2018 - Mount Sinai study could transform treatment for patients with retinal degenerative diseases
August 16, 2018 - Penn researchers develop first mouse model of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
August 16, 2018 - Four tips to help prevent fall allergy symptoms
August 16, 2018 - Women’s Preventive Services Initiative says screen all women annually for urinary incontinence
August 16, 2018 - At Stanford, patient discovers the source of her headaches, nausea | News Center
August 16, 2018 - To Prevent Injuries in Young Baseball Players, Chris Ahmad Reaches Out to Parents
August 16, 2018 - Restoring blood flow may be linked to longer survival in patients with critical limb ischemia
August 16, 2018 - New model of genetically engineered immune cells may help fight solid tumors
August 16, 2018 - Maternal stress increases anxious and depressive-like behaviors in female offspring
August 16, 2018 - Childhood exposure to secondhand smoke increases risk of COPD death in adulthood
August 16, 2018 - Scientists uncover key control mechanism of DNA replication
August 16, 2018 - NIH begins first-in-human trial of experimental live, attenuated Zika virus vaccine
August 16, 2018 - Two diabetes medications don’t slow progression of type 2 diabetes in youth
August 16, 2018 - 5 Questions: How Stanford research is making MRI scans safer for kids | News Center
August 16, 2018 - Columbia Celebrates 25th Anniversary of White Coat Ceremony
August 16, 2018 - Phonak’s new smallest and most discreet Virto B-Titanium hearing aid
August 16, 2018 - New project aims to study growth of water-based microorganisms
August 16, 2018 - Immune cell found to play important role in photosensitivity
August 16, 2018 - Higher social dominance linked to faster decision-making in men
August 16, 2018 - Blood test in early pregnancy could determine a woman’s later risk for gestational diabetes
August 16, 2018 - New research confirms link between DDT exposure and autism
August 16, 2018 - Neurodevelopmental Anomalies, Birth Defects Linked to Zika ID’d
August 16, 2018 - Risk of heart failure up in ALVSD patients with diabetes
August 16, 2018 - Exercise reduces symptoms and fatigue in patients with chronic kidney disease
August 16, 2018 - Study reveals role of RUNX proteins in DNA repair
August 16, 2018 - New research finds no harm from average salt consumption
August 16, 2018 - Researchers develop new way of testing bacterial resistance to antibiotics
Drug industry spent millions to squelch talk about high drug prices

Drug industry spent millions to squelch talk about high drug prices

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

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.

“That’s PhRMA. They do it all” to protect drug companies from potential policy risks, said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks political financing. “And they’re going to marshal even more resources when they perceive that these threats or opportunities are most imminent.”

Threats seemed especially dire last year. Storms of bad publicity hit the industry in the form of stories about arrogant executives and thousand-dollar pills.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said some pharma companies were “making a fortune off of people’s misfortune.” Then-candidate Donald Trump, a Republican, suggested he could save $300 billion annually by requiring drugmakers to bid on business.

Nonprofit organizations such as PhRMA must file detailed disclosures with the IRS. PhRMA, which submitted its 2016 report in early November, shared a copy with Kaiser Health News.

The group also aimed dollars at states where policymakers were considering drug-related measures such as price limits or greater price transparency, the document shows.

It gave $64 million to a California fund established to defeat a proposal requiring state agencies to pay no more for drugs than does the federal Department of Veterans Affairs. Also supported by direct contributions from drug companies, the fund spent $110 million last year to defeat the initiative, California regulatory filings show.

This year, California established a less comprehensive law requiring drug firms to give notice and explanation when they substantially raise prices. PhRMA recently sued to block that measure.

In Louisiana, where policymakers were considering proposals to make drug prices clearer to consumers, PhRMA gave campaign contributions directly to scores of state legislators last year. The group also gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to help defeat a ballot proposal for single-payer health care in Colorado.

Last year’s massive mobilization underscores how besieged the industry felt over complaints about soaring medicine prices and high profits.

PhRMA’s $271 million in revenue for the year represented its biggest budget since 2009, when it recorded $350 million in dues and other revenue.

The $57 million it spent on lobbying was also the most since 2009, when the lobbying bill was $70 million. So was the $7 million spent on advertising, a cost that should rise this year, since the “Go Boldly” ads aired in 2017. PhRMA employed 237 people last year, up from fewer than 200 in 2011.

The association’s 37 members include the biggest and best-known drug companies including Johnson & Johnson, Celgene, Merck, Pfizer, Eli Lilly and Amgen. Holly Campbell, a PhRMA spokeswoman, declined to make an executive available to discuss the report, saying it doesn’t comment on contributions.

“PhRMA engages with stakeholders across the health care system to hear their perspectives and priorities,” she said in an email. “We work with many organizations with which we have both agreements and disagreements on public policy issues.”

Patient groups receiving PhRMA money often deny that it influences their policies or keeps them from criticizing high drug prices.

The Lupus Foundation has policies to ensure there is no conflict of interest, a spokeswoman said. At the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, donors such as PhRMA “have no role” in the group’s decision-making process, a spokeswoman said.

“No funder influences our position, agenda or science-based messages” at the American Lung Association, its spokeswoman said.

The American Autoimmune Related Disease Association did not respond to requests for comment.

During negotiations over Obamacare, PhRMA agreed to support overhauling health care relatively early in the process, in mid-2009. Then it threw its muscle into promoting the measure, which promised billions in new revenue for members. President Barack Obama signed it into law in March 2010.

PhRMA shrank substantially after that, taking in around $205 million for several years in a row starting in 2010.

Last year it agreed to increase dues by 50 percent to raise an extra $100 million, Politico reported. In an attempt to distance itself from drug companies earning bad headlines, it also decided to bar members that didn’t invest a minimum in pharmaceutical research.

Kaiser Health NewsThis article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles