Report exposes drug industry's spending blitz to keep prices and profits high
WASHINGTON, D.C., July 23--Embarking on an unprecedented lobbying blitz and a frenzy of spending, the pharmaceutical industry last year fought like never before to stop Congress from enacting a Medicare drug benefit, a Public Citizen report shows.
Worried that a benefit would lead to discounted prices in the lucrative senior citizen market, the industry spent a record $262 million on political influence in the 1999-2000 election cycle. The report, "The Other Drug War: Big Pharma's 625 Washington Lobbyists," documents how the U.S. drug industry spent $177 million on lobbying, $65 million on issue ads and $20 million on campaign contributions--more than any other industry in 1999-2000.
"The drug industry is one of the more hypocritical industries around," said Frank Clemente, director of Public Citizen's Congress Watch. "It claims to be working for consumers when in fact it uses profits from sales to buy access to lawmakers and defeat pro-consumer prescription drug legislation." Among the report's highlights:
A copy of the report is available at http://www.citizen.org/congress/drugs/pharmadrugwar.html Public Citizen is a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.citizen.org.
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