Pharma Industry Spends Big on Lobbying Amid COVID-19, Upcoming Election

Over the past six months, the pharmaceutical industry spent more than $156 million on lobbying even as drugmakers have been racing to produce coronavirus vaccines and treatments. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) spent $14.43 million in the first half of 2020, according to the U.S. Senate Lobbying Disclosure Act Database. Lobbying expenditures from Gilead Sciences jumped by 26%, going from $2.94 million in the first half of 2019 to $3.71 million over the same period in 2020. Meanwhile, drugmakers have distributed thousands of checks to lawmakers ahead of this year’s election, according to a recent Stat analysis. The industry has traditionally supported Republican candidates, and it donated nearly $200,000 to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) this year. Among the 14 lawmakers who’ve received more than $100,000 from the industry in 2020, 11 are Republican lawmakers and six are senators up for reelection.

© 2021 MMIT

Jinghong Chen Reporter

Jinghong produces infographics and data stories on health insurance and specialty pharmacy for AIS Health. She graduated from Missouri School of Journalism with a focus on data journalism and international reporting. Before joining AIS in 2018, she worked at WBEZ, Al Jazeera English and The New York Times Chinese.

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