Nov 18, 2019

PhRMA's cash load stayed steady in 2018

PhRMA CEO Stephen Ubl speaks to President Trump. Photo: Ron Sachs/Getty Images

The drug industry lobbying group PhRMA registered $460 million of revenue in 2018, a shade more than 2017, according to its latest tax returns obtained by the Center for Responsive Politics.

The bottom line: PhRMA's influence continues to touch almost every corner of state and federal politics, especially conservative groups, and is a big reason why the country's high drug prices have not changed.

By the numbers: PhRMA's 2017 tax returns showed a large uptick in member dues and spending, largely due to President Trump painting the industry as public enemy No. 1. Those dues and spending amounts remained lofty in 2018.

  • Hundreds of millions of dollars were funneled to law firms, advertising agencies, patient groups, political campaigns, think tanks, astroturf organizations and executive pay.
  • Like in 2017, PhRMA donated millions of dollars in 2018 to conservative groups that have advocated against policies that would chip away at the industry's profitability, including the Trump administration's newer international reference pricing model.
  • PhRMA also continues to put money in the bank accounts of both Republican and Democratic campaigns.

The big picture: PhRMA, the American Hospital Association and the American Medical Association are three of the most dominant lobbying groups not just in health care, but in all of Washington.

  • But PhRMA generates almost as much revenue on its own as the AHA and AMA combined (see 2018 filings for the AHA and AMA).

Go deeper

Updates: George Floyd protests continue past curfews

Protesters on Tuesday evening by the metal fence recently erected outside the White House. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued Tuesday night across the U.S. for the eighth consecutive day — prompting a federal response from the National Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection.

The latest: The Army moved 1,600 soldiers from out of state into D.C. area, the Defense Department confirmed in a statement Tuesday. Protesters were still out en masse after curfews began in cities including Washington, D.C., New York City, Los Angeles and Portland.

Primary elections test impact of protests, coronavirus on voting

Election official at a polling place at McKinley Technology High School in Washington, D.C. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In the midst of a global pandemic and national protests over the death of George Floyd, eight states and the District of Columbia held primary elections on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, needs to win 425 of the 479 delegates up for grabs in order to officially clinch the nomination. There are a number of key down-ballot races throughout the country as well, including a primary in Iowa that could determine the fate of Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa).

Iowa Rep. Steve King defeated in GOP primary

Rep. Steve King. Photo: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

State Sen. Randy Feenstra defeated incumbent Rep. Steve King in Tuesday's Republican primary for Iowa's 4th congressional district, according to the Cook Political Report.

Why it matters: King's history of racist remarks has made him one of the most controversial politicians in the country and a pariah within the Republican Party.