Drug Industry Leveraging Influence Over Trump Administration, Pours Money Into Lobbying Efforts to Influence Vulnerable Members of Congress
WASHINGTON — In a special report, Stat News finds the pharmaceutical industry remains an overwhelming force in Trump’s Washington despite heavy criticism from the public after continued drug price hikes. The report cites a heavy influence from within the Trump administration as a key way pharmaceutical giants are ensuring decision-makers work in their favor and ignore the interests of the American people suffering at their hands.
“The trend is clear: when big pharma wins, Americans lose,” said Lizzy Price, spokesperson for Restore Public Trust. “How exactly has big pharma made winning in Washington easy when they’re under attack from all sides? For starters, their former executives and employees are embedded in the Trump administration with Secretary Alex Azar, a former Eli Lilly executive, at the helm as the head of HHS. These industry insiders are raking in the cash from their former pharmaceutical industry employers to the tune of millions. Government officials should be looking out for Americans and their families, not protecting the bottom line of their friends in the drug industry.”
Last month, Restore Public Trust launched the website, BigPharmasBestFriends.org, exposing sixteen Trump administration officials who have made almost $6 million from the pharmaceutical industry while everyday Americans struggle to find the money for lifesaving drugs they need. Among them are HHS Secretary Alex Azar who was a top executive at Eli Lilly when the company increased the price of Humalog, a top-selling insulin drug, by 345%.
Attorneys General in several states are reportedly investigating insulin drug pricing by Eli Lilly, including charges of price-fixing that would have occurred during Azar’s tenure. Eli Lilly is also named as a defendant in a class action lawsuit alleging price-fixing during Azar’s tenure at the company.