In the last two years, over one-third of all state lawmakers nationwide accepted at least one pharmaceutical industry campaign contribution, news organization STAT reports.
The industry wrote over 10,000 individual checks totaling more than $9 million to “at least 2,467 state legislators,” STAT reported yesterday in an analysis of campaign finance records for the 2020 election cycle. It said its analysis encompassed campaign spending by the largest 23 U.S. drug manufacturers by revenue plus the trade groups PhRMA and BIO.
“In most cases nationally, the drug industry donated to politicians running for reelection, and avoided supporting candidates who were challenging incumbents,” STAT reporter Lev Facher wrote in article about the analysis. “Such practices are typical for corporate campaign donors, who often see the checks as helping to build relationships and secure access to people currently in power.”
“Still, drug companies were adept at picking winners,” Facher said. “Of the more than $9 million the pharmaceutical industry spent on state legislative races, less than $500,000 went to candidates who lost. Most of the money helped to fund winning reelection campaigns, though $1.8 million went to candidates who retired instead of running again in 2019 or 2020.”
STAT conducted the analysis in partnership with the National Institute on Money in Politics.
There has been an upswing in state legislative and regulatory activity in recent years directly about or touching on the 340B program. Most of it, however, deals with state and private payer reimbursement for 340B purchased drugs. A bill was introduced in Vermont in 2020 to require 340B covered entities to report how much income they derive from the 340B program and how they use the money—something the drug industry has long advocated for at the federal level, without success.