May 6, 2018 - Health

Big Pharma set to spend big in drug prices fight

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar speaks after taking the oath of office watched by US President Donald Trump

HHS Secretary Alex Azar while President Trump looks on. Photo: Mandel Ngan/Getty Images

Drug companies spent $171.5 million lobbying Congress and the federal government last year, the most of any industry, reports The New York Times, per data by the Center for Responsive Politics. The companies and their allied trade groups also deployed 882 lobbyists last year, two-thirds of whom had previously worked for Congress or the federal government.

Why it matters: This spending could be a harbinger for a concerted industry effort to derail a plan by the Trump administration to crack down on soaring drug prices. As Axios' Bob Herman recently reported, pharmaceutical companies have hiked the prices of hundreds of drugs at rates that significantly outstrip inflation since President Trump came into office.

Go deeper