For the last ten years, the pharmaceutical industry has donated most of its Congressional campaign support to Republican candidates. But, knowing that the Democrats were likely to control the House in 2019, StatNews reports that Pharma gave more than 60 percent of its Congressional contributions to Democrats. Will Pharma’s campaign contributions to House Democrats keep Democrats from introducing legislation to bring down drug prices?
The health insurance and pharmaceutical companies contributed more than $24 million to Congressional and state candidates, more than ever before for a mid-term election. And, sadly, most Democrats do not reject that money or the corporate influence that inevitably comes with it. Make no mistake, these companies support candidates in order to help garner their legislative support.
Claire McCaskill and Bernie Sanders were vocal proponents for rejecting this industry money. Unfortunately, McCaskill, a Missouri Senator, lost her bid for re-election. Charles Schumer, the Senate’s Democratic leader, has not spoken against corporate campaign contributions. In response to a question about whether candidates should take money from the pharmaceutical industry, he told reporters: “We do what the right thing is, period, and no ifs, ands, or buts.”
The health insurance and pharmaceutical industries are two of the biggest contributors to political campaigns, largely supporting incumbents. They donate tens of millions of dollars in an election cycle. That money allows these industries to build relationships with lawmakers and influence their decision-making down the line.
Two Democrats, who will be House Committee chairs in 2019, Reps. Frank Pallone (N.J.) and Richard Neal (Mass.), are beneficiaries of health insurance and pharmaceutical industry money. They will wield significant influence now that the House has shifted to a Democratic majority. We must impress upon them that their acceptance of this industry money should not keep them from serving their constituents and the American people well.
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