Story at-a-glance

  • The top pharmaceutical lobbyist in the 2020 elections was Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), which spent $25.9 million at the state and federal level
  • Big Pharma targets bipartisan lawmakers in influential positions who can affect decisions that affect the industry. Once elected, they are tempted with lucrative job promises after leaving office, known as the “revolving door”
  • Companies form political action committees (PACs) to circumvent laws that prohibit corporations from donating directly to candidates. Money can be legally shuffled to support their candidate’s reelection
  • The industry has benefited from a public opinion reversal during the pandemic, moving from criticism over drug prices in early 2019 to becoming popular again in the vaccine effort
  • Although the cost of drugs is not the center of media attention, Big Pharma has not lowered prices and continues to push for higher revenue


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