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How much did Big Pharma spend on lobbying over 20 years? Billions

Big Pharma lobbying spendingThe lobbying power of the pharmaceutical companies in Washington, D.C., and in 50 state capitols across the country is well known. Now, thanks to a professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science, the power can be measured in dollars.

Relying on publicly available data, Olivier Wouters, an assistant professor of Health Policy at the London School, looked how much the pharmaceutical and health product industry spent on lobbying and campaign contributions from 1999 to 2018.

The total: $4.7 billion. That’s an average of $233 million per year for lobbying the U.S. government, which was more spent than any other industry. In addition, the industry spent $414 million on contributions to presidential and congressional candidates, political parties and outside groups.

But there’s more. Big Pharma also spent $877 million on contributions to state candidates and committees.

In a report published by JAMA Internal Medicine, Wouters notes that contributions were targeted at congressional members involved in drafting health care laws and state committees that opposed or supported key legislation on drug pricing and regulation.

Why are the numbers important?

“Understanding the spending of the pharmaceutical and health product industry and lobbying and campaign contributions can inform discussions about how to temper the influence of industry on U.S. health policy,” Wouters concludes.

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