Pharma Spent Record Amount on Lobbying in 2022; PBMs Are Now in Spotlight

The pharmaceutical and health products industry poured over a record amount — more than $373.7 million — into lobbying and outspent all other industries in 2022, according to data compiled by OpenSecrets.

During the 2021-2022 election cycle, the pharma/health products industry bucked its historical trend of favoring Republicans and distributed around 60% of donated campaign funds to Democratic lawmakers. Among the 20 lawmakers who received the most contributions from the industry during the election cycle, 14 are Democrats. Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) topped the list, receiving over $764,000.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) spent $29.2 million in 2022, according to data compiled by OpenSecrets. The trade association lobbied aggressively on H.R. 5376, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which allows Medicare to negotiate some prescription drugs’ prices and caps out-of-pocket spending for Medicare beneficiaries. Despite the lobbying efforts, the legislation was signed into law by President Joe Biden in August 2022.

The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA), an organization representing PBMs, spent more than $8.6 million in lobbying in 2022, an 11% increase compared with the previous year. Eight of the 11 lobbyists registered on behalf of PCMA in 2022 previously held jobs in the federal government. One of the lobbyists, Kristin Bass, served as the health policy adviser to Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley on the Senate Finance Committee in 2007 and 2008. Grassley, a Republican, and Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) co-sponsored the Pharmacy Benefit Manager Transparency Act of 2022, which failed to advance in the 117th Congress but was reintroduced in the 118th Congress.

This year, PBMs rather than drugmakers are in federal legislators’ crosshairs, with a flurry of measures recently introduced that aim to change how the industry does business. AHIP, the main trade group for health insurers, recently entered the fray with a campaign meant to shift the blame for high drug costs back onto the pharmaceutical industry.

Meanwhile, lobbying spending among several major pharmaceutical companies reached a record high in 2022. Pfizer Inc. invested more than $14.8 million in lobbying, a 34% jump from 2021, while biotechnology company Illumina Inc. saw its lobbying spending skyrocket by 69% compared with the previous year.

Source: Open Secrets.

This infographic was reprinted from AIS Health’s biweekly publication RADAR on Drug Benefits.

© 2024 MMIT
Jinghong Chen

Jinghong Chen Reporter

Jinghong has been producing infographics and data stories on employer-sponsored insurance, public health insurance programs and prescription drug coverage for AIS Health’s Health Plan Weekly and Radar on Drug Benefits since 2018. She also manages AIS Health’s annual executive compensation database for top insurers and Blue Cross and Blue Shield affiliates. Before joining AIS Health, she interned at WBEZ, Al Jazeera English and The New York Times Chinese. She graduated from Missouri School of Journalism with a focus on data journalism and international reporting.

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