It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
One of the most powerful players in health care is a group called the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA. It represents just 32 brand-name drug companies, but it has so much influence that when Congress passes a bill, PhRMA almost always gets its way. One big reason why: PhRMA and its members have spent millions of dollars lobbying Congress as lawmakers work to overhaul health care.
Add it all up and you get this: In those three critical months, PhRMA and its member companies spent $40 million lobbying Congress. That's more than $3 million each week.
Paying To Remove Issues?
If you want to know what PhRMA is getting this time, Avorn says just look at what's not on the table during the debate:
Drug re-importation from Canada? Off the table.
Government-negotiated drug prices? Off the table.
"A lot of those seem to have been resolved even before the public discussion begins," says Avorn. "And usually, as with the other interest groups involved, they seem to have been resolved in favor of the interest groups, rather than in favor of the public."
More Lobbyists Than Congress Members
There's something else drug companies bought with that $40 million: people.
PhRMA alone has 29 people lobbying for it. In the graphic on this page, you can dig into the reports, and you'll find that PhRMA also hired 45 different Washington, D.C., lobbying firms to represent it in those three months of the second quarter.
Most of the drug companies that belong to PhRMA are running their own lobby shops as well, plus the biggest ones have also hired dozens of D.C. lobbying firms.
So think about it this way: There are far more people in Washington representing one party of the debate — the big drug companies — than there are members of Congress working on the health care bill.
This is not to pass judgment on the merits of PhRMA's arguments, but rather to show just how much money and lobbying it uses to back them up — and the winning streak in Congress that follows.