PhRMA Spent Record Amounts While Trump and Azar Fail to Protect Americans From High Drug Prices

Disclosure Shows PhRMA Spent a Record $16.1 Million Lobbying in First Half of 2019

WASHINGTON — Newly posted disclosures on lobbying spends in the first half of 2019 show the pharmaceutical industry is doubling down to leverage its influence over policymakers. As President Trump and his Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar claim to be working to lower drug prices for Americans, the new disclosures show big pharma is winning in Washington. 

“Secretary Azar and President Trump are failing to protect Americans from the drug industry’s bottom line,” said Lizzy Price, Director of Restore Public Trust. “The Trump administration is stacked with pharmaceutical insiders like Secretary Azar, while the drug industry is dead-set on spending record-breaking sums to ensure efforts to lower the price of prescription drugs are quashed. How can Americans focus on getting ahead when their lives are consumed by trying to afford the ever-increasing prices of lifesaving drugs they need to survive? 

“Azar and Trump have repeatedly refused to stand up to the pharmaceutical industry and Americans have had enough.”

Newly posted disclosures reveal:

  • PhRMA spent a record $16.1 million on lobbying in the first six months of 2019, breaking its all-time six-month lobbying record which it also broke in 2018, and putting the group on pace to break its annual lobbying record
  • Johnson & Johnson spent $2.2 million this quarter, which is nearly two and a half times what it spent in the comparable time period last year
  • Eli Lilly spent $2.3 million on lobbying in the first half of 2019
  • Allergan spent $1 million lobbying Congress, nearly three times what it spent during this period last year


Last month, Restore Public Trust launched the website,, 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.

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