The pharmaceutical industry targeted key lawmakers to thwart attempts to contain drug costs.
By Victoria Knight, Rachana Pradhan and Elizabeth Lucas
The Biden administration and Congress are embroiled in high-stakes haggling over what urgent priorities will make it into the ever-shrinking social spending bill. But for the pharmaceutical industry there is one agenda: Heading off Medicare drug price negotiation, which it considers an existential threat to its business model.
The siren call to contain rising drug costs helped catapult Democrats to power, and the idea is popular among voters regardless of their politics. Yet granting Medicare broad authority to intervene in setting prices has nonetheless divided the party.
And so, as it normally does, the drug industry gave generously to members of Congress, according to new data from KHN’s Pharma Cash to Congress database. Contributions covering the first half of this year show that some of its biggest donations were delivered with surgical-strike precision to sympathetic or moderate Democratic lawmakers the industry needs to remain in its corner.