Big Pharma Spends Big To Keep Profits High, As The White House Acquiesces

Pharmaceutical companies spent millions this year lobbying lawmakers to defeat drug pricing legislation

WASHINGTON – This year, as patients have struggled relentlessly to pay for the medications they need, pharmaceutical companies have already paid millions to convince lawmakers to oppose drug pricing legislation that could risk driving down their enormous profits — and to mislead the public into opposing such measures as well.

“Big Pharma paid millions for lobbying this year in hopes that our elected leaders would cave to their desires and allow them to keep price gouging sick Americans,” said Lizzy Price, director of Restore Public Trust. “Health care policy should be driven by the needs of the public, not the whims of drug company executives. But with so many connections between Big Pharma and the administration — including the Health Secretary Azar himself —  we really aren’t surprised that the Trump and Azar continue to fail to put the needs of the American public first by acquiescing to Big Pharma’s wishes.”

The Center for Responsive Politics reports that Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), which holds enormous sway in the health care industry, has doled out  $16.3 million — and a whopping total of $4.2 billion since 1998 — for lobbying efforts so far this year. Notably, over 70 percent of those lobbying on the group’s behalf previously held public service roles.

These costs include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • $3.5 million on Twitter and Facebook ads, many of which point fingers at hospitals and insurers for high cost burdens on patients, since last May;
  • Millions per year on a pro-biopharmaceutical companies public relations ad campaign since 2017;
  • $2.5 million to the pro-Trump dark money group America First Policies Inc., among other conservative groups, in 2017;
  • $150,000 to the parent group of Coalition Against Socialized Medicine, which spent more than $10,000 on ads attacking pending drug pricing legislation, in 2017;
  • $64,250 to the Alliance for Aging Research, which ran nearly $40,000 worth of ads on social media platforms questioning unfavorable evaluations of their medications’ cost-effectiveness, in 2017.

To learn more about the revolving door between Big Pharma and the Trump administration that aids the effectiveness of these lobbying efforts, visit

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Press Release

Alex AzarBig PharmaPress Release

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