The Fairy Tale of Big PhRMA
by Shari Dovale
Once upon a time, the voters were told that Lobbying was not bad, Big PhRMA does wonderful things and taking money from lobbyists does not mean they actually gain influence with lawmakers.
After all, it takes money to get reelected and they have to get it from somewhere, right?
The very nature of lobbying is to ‘Pay for Influence’ but it doesn’t mean that any elected official actually falls for it. These officials are easily able to discern that they can take money, and keep it coming from these lobbyists, and never have to change the way the constituents expect them to vote.
Then the Big Bad Wolf came along and blew down this house of straw….
PhRMA, also known as the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America , formerly known as the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association, is a trade group representing companies in the pharmaceutical industry in the United States. Founded in 1958, PhRMA lobbies on behalf of pharmaceutical companies.
Current member companies include AbbVie, Alkermes, Amgen, Astellas Pharma, AstraZeneca, Bayer, Biogen, BioMarin Pharmaceutical, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol Myers Squibb, CSL Behring, Daiichi Sankyo, Eisai, Eli Lilly and Company, EMD Serono, Genentech, Gilead Sciences, GlaxoSmithKline, Incyte, Ipsen, Johnson & Johnson, Lundbeck, Merck & Co., Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Otsuka Pharmaceutical, Pfizer, Sanofi, Sunovion, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company, Teva Pharmaceuticals, and UCB
Mad in America did an excellent article explaining that Pharma spent $6 Billion on Lobbying Politicians in the last 20 Years. Some of the takeaways from that article include:
- Five pharmaceutical companies made the top ten spending list for both campaign contributions and lobbying, including companies like Pfizer.
- Funding tended to follow ballot measures – for instance, in Ohio, $61 million was spent in 2017, which coincided with the year a ballot measure intending to lower prescription drug costs was voted down.
- More than double the money was spent at the state level as compared to the federal level.
- Several organizations (most notably PhRMA, the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association) accounted for a disproportionate share of spending on lobbying.
The Hard Truth About Lobbyists
In politics, lobbying, persuasion, or interest representation is the act of lawfully attempting to influence the actions, policies, or decisions of government officials, most often legislators or members of regulatory agencies.
Yes, it is legal, even if much of it seems unethical. Idaho Legislature defines it as such:
(12) “Lobby” and “lobbying” each means attempting through contacts with, or causing others to make contact with, members of the legislature or legislative committees or an executive official to influence the approval, modification or rejection of any legislation by the legislature of the state of Idaho or any committee thereof or by the governor or to develop or maintain relationships with, promote goodwill with, or entertain members of the legislature or executive officials. “Lobby” and “lobbying” shall also mean communicating with an executive official for the purpose of influencing the consideration, amendment, adoption or rejection of any rule or rulemaking as defined in section 67-5201, Idaho Code, or any ratemaking decision, procurement, contract, bid or bid process, financial services agreement, or bond issue.
Lobbyists donate to election campaigns because it works! This is not just a donation to these companies, it is an investment. They continue giving them money because they continue to gain influence with them.
There are politicians that do not accept money from the big Lobbying groups like PhRMA. People like Rep. Heather Scott do very well with their voters without being beholden to groups like ALEC, PhRMA or Big TOBACCO, all of which seem to be important to the “Liberty is a very loose term” -type of lawmaker.
To be clear, anyone that says these groups, including PhRMA, are not Lobbying to influence them is LYING to you.
Take a look at the list of Establishment hacks and Leftists that have taken money from PhRMA:
|Idaho Victory Fund|
|Patti Anne Lodge|
|PNW PhRMA PAC|
Don’t be an uninformed voter! Tell these establishment flunkies that they are FIRED!