The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Karl Frisch, 202-580-5813

REPORT: As Senate Democrats Eye Medicare Rx Drug Negotiation Authority, Big Pharma Has Already Spent $147M Lobbying Against Lower Drug Prices During Pandemic While Posting Record Profits


Ahead of the U.S. Labor Department's Consumer Price Index report and as Senate Democrats consider giving Medicare authority to negotiate lower prescription prices as part of their reconciliation package, a new analysis from corporate watchdog Accountable.US found PhRMA and the top five drug companies have spent at least $147 million lobbying against lowering drug prices since the start of the pandemic. The pharmaceutical industry known for charging seniors an arm and leg for their medicines is now poised to unleash another major lobbying offensive against the Democratic reconciliation deal, as they did against the sweeping drug pricing proposals in H.R. 3, so they can keep raising prices to absurd degrees without justification.

Additionally, Accountable.US found major drug company CEOs have raked in over $292.6 million in compensation while their companies saw skyrocketing profits - at a time Americans spend an average of $1,200 per person on Rx drugs and as many as 18 million Americans simply cannot afford their prescribed medications.

"Big Pharma, like many other industries, knows they cannot justify raising prices so high at the same time they boast of excessive profits, generous CEO bonuses and huge shareholder payouts. That is why the big drug companies spend so massively lobbying to keep the market rigged in their favor and seniors at their mercy, including many literally choosing between food and medicine. It is time the conservatives in Congress who complain constantly about inflation finally do something constructive about it -- and there's no better place to start than allowing Medicare to finally negotiate lower drug prices. What really matters most to these lawmakers: bringing down costs for seniors, or looking out for the bottom line of their big drug company donors?" --Accountable.US spokesperson Liz Zelnick

Accountable.US previously found Republican lawmakers on the House Energy & Commerce Committee who voted against allowing Medicare to negotiate the prices of prescription drugs with drug companies (H.R. 3) have taken nearly $1.7 million in career contributions from industry groups and the five largest pharmaceutical companies opposed to Medicare drug negotiations. The new analysis follows Accountable.US' research over the last several months on how runaway corporate greed from the big oil, meat packing, shipping, retail, clothing, food, trucking and railroad companies has been making inflation challenges much worse for everyday consumers.

Accountable.US is a nonpartisan watchdog that exposes corruption in public life and holds government officials and corporate special interests accountable by bringing their influence and misconduct to light. In doing so, we make way for policies that advance the interests of all Americans, not just the rich and powerful.