The Power of PhRMA

The pharmaceutical industry, like most industries, has spent a lot of time and money setting up a powerful and influential lobby group. The top 10 lobbyist groups in 2017 were:

  • US Chambers of Commerce
  • National Association of Realtors
  • Business Roundtable
  • Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • American Hospital Association
  • American Medical Association
  • Alphabet
  • AT&T
  • Boeing

These groups represent economic sectors from aerospace and technology to health care and business. The pharmaceutical industry’s powerful lobby, PhRMA, has been steadily increasing its spending every year in response to the negative public reaction to drug prices. PhRMA is very powerful. Its tentacles are not just limited to Washington DC’s hyper-political atmosphere; they reach to the legislature of every single state as well. Drug transparency ballot measures were defeated in California last year based largely on the campaign that PhRMA ran against them.

PhRMA’s sole responsibility is to protect the profit making power of the pharmaceutical industry. It doesn’t exist to help patients, or to mend the rift in the relationship between big pharma and patients. That’s why the pharmaceutical industry seems so tone deaf.  They do not seem to know that the American people have heard every excuse they have ever provided for outrageously high drug prices; and they don’t seem to realize that Americans have rejected all of them. The millions of people who have used personal importation to supply their prescription drug needs, in spite of big pharma’s cries of danger, is proof of that. Yet instead of acknowledging the situation, big pharma is doubling down. It is not changing its pricing practices, it is, instead, lobbying political leaders more than ever before to maintain the status quo and defeat reform.

PhRMA is likely to remain one of the top lobbying groups in Washington for a long time to come. What it is not likely to do is encourage its members to reform their pricing practices. This is to your detriment. Your only option is push your congressional representatives to change the law to permit personal importation and end the grey area practices of PBMs and insurers and the like.  You should also join the Campaign for Personal Prescription Importation and be part of a grassroots effort to give Americans the freedoms they deserve to get their drugs at affordable prices.

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