Facing an increasingly outraged public, the leading Big Pharma lobby group is hiking its annual dues by more than 50 percent as it prepares to defend its pharmaceutical company members against lawmakers and voters who want to rein in out-of-control drug prices.
Politico reported Tuesday that “PhRMA hopes to improve its public image next year and stave off any legislative action” in the wake of recent public scandals like those over EpiPen and Valeant. “It plans to run TV ads emphasizing how new drugs could add years to patients’ lives, as well as the years of complex research needed to develop a drug—in other words, a lot of money that must be recouped through high prices.”
To do so, it needs some extra cash.
As such, “PhRMA’s decision to hike membership dues 50 percent will increase the trade group’s considerable coffers to more than $300 million per year,” according to Politico, “a financial advantage it hasn’t enjoyed since 2009, when drug makers came out largely unscathed in Obamacare negotiations.”
Politico first reported on PhRMA’s board voting to raise dues in August, but didn’t know then by how much. “They are formidable under any scenario. They are formidable now,” Hillary Clinton health policy adviser Chris Jennings said at the time. “The idea that they are going to bring in more resources, borders on petrifying.”
But an angry public, led by progressive voices, is potentially just as formidable.
A recent poll found that more than three in four Americans believe that prescription drug prices are “unreasonable,” with large majorities from both major political parties in favor of government steps to keep those prices down.
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