Drug lobby rakes in millions more, prepares for fight in Congress

Pharmaceutical trade group PhRMA is amassing a large amount of money in preparation to fight politicians and public perception after Election Day, according to a report by Politico. The lobby is stocking their war chest by raising membership rates by 50 percent, requiring companies to pony up if they wish to remain a member of the influential lobby.

PhRMA is hoping that the increase will help them fight the impending battles over drug pricing. Recently there has been a spate of negative coverage after the price of commonly used drugs such as epinephrine rose considerably. Many politicians, including both presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, have proposed some form of price negotiation by the government.

“There is tremendous concern in the marketplace about structural change to pricing,” Goldman Sachs analyst Jami Rubin said Friday in a conference call with executives of drug company AbbVie Inc.

Controlling the price of certain drugs has the potential to dramatically reduce pharmaceutical companies’ profits. PhRMA will attempt to stop, or lessen the effects of, any potential legislation by Congress to police prices. Some are skeptical that legislation would even make it to the floor. However, others believe the drug lobby has to change their tactics in order to survive.

Here’s what CNBC columnist Jake Novak had to say:

Several reports say the the Big Pharma lobbying group known as PhRMA is looking to spend as much as $300 million and pull out lots of other stops in order to defend higher prescription drug costs. But here’s the problem: this is a battle the drug giants can’t win. Public and political sentiment against expensive medicines and the companies that charge those prices is at a fever pitch.

Much of this will depend on who is inaugurated as president of the United States in January 2017, and who wins congressional races in November. One thing is certain, however, and that is PhRMA is expecting a fight against the rising tide of American populism.

 

[Politico] [Wall Street Journal] [CNBC] [Photo courtesy countercurrentnews.com]