Drug Industry Has Been on a Winning Streak in Trump’s Washington
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Politico reports the head of PhRMA and representatives from Pfizer and Amgen met with President Trump behind closed doors “as industry lobbyists ramped up efforts to kill administration plans intended to lower drug prices.” This follows the release of lobbying expenditure reports for the first half of 2019 showing 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, these closed-door meetings and new lobbying disclosures show big pharma is winning in Washington.
“The trend is clear: when big pharma wins, Americans lose,” said Karl Frisch, a senior advisor to Restore Public Trust. “How exactly has big pharma made winning in Washington easy when they’re under attack from all sides? For starters, they have easy access to the White House for closed-door meetings with President Trump and their former executives and employees are embedded in the administration with Secretary Alex Azar, a former Eli Lilly executive, at the helm as the head of HHS. These industry insiders have raked in the cash from their former pharmaceutical industry employers to the tune of millions. Trump should be looking out for American families, not holding secret meetings with the drug industry.”
In a report earlier this month, STAT News found the pharmaceutical industry remains an overwhelming force in Trump’s Washington citing 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.
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 is 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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