Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Axios on your phone

Get breaking news and scoops on the go with the Axios app.

Download for free.

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

PhRMA booked $456 million of revenue in 2017. Photo: Bob Herman/Axios

PhRMA, the pharmaceutical industry's main lobbying group, considerably bolstered its political and financial position during President Trump's first year in office, new federal tax filings show.

The bottom line: PhRMA directed tens of millions of dollars toward conservative think tanks, political groups of all stripes and patient advocates with the hope of convincing the public that the industry isn't "getting away with murder," as Trump put it, and that others are to blame for the country's drug pricing maze.

By the numbers: The world's largest drug companies are members of PhRMA, and they paid a lot more in membership dues last year.

  • PhRMA's total revenue in 2017 was $456 million, up 68% from 2016.
  • Membership dues rose 62% year over year to $396 million.

Where did that money go? Pretty much everywhere.

  • Federal and state lobbying increased 126% in 2017. Two large law firms, Covington & Burling and Arnold & Porter, combined to collect $8.6 million alone from PhRMA.
  • Tens of millions in grants were funneled to patient advocacy groups that often stay silent about rising drug prices. Some of the largest PhRMA-funded patient groups were the Addiction Policy Forum, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the AIDS Institute.
  • PhRMA's advertising budget multiplied by almost 10 times. Ad agency Young & Rubicam and PR firm Porter Novelli cumulatively were paid $17 million.
  • Seven PhRMA executives made at least $1 million in 2017. PhRMA CEO Stephen Ubl made the most with almost $3.1 million, up 9% from his pay in 2016.

Politically motivated spending: PhRMA gave millions to political groups representing both parties and to conservative-leaning think tanks that embrace free-market policy ideas. 

  • The biggest recipient was America First Policies, a "dark money" conservative nonprofit that promotes Trump's agenda, which received $2.5 million. 
  • Other recipients of at least $1 million from PhRMA were the American Action Network and the National Republican Redistricting Trust — both on the political right — as well as Center Forward, a bipartisan political action committee pushing centrist reforms.

Yes, but: Other political beneficiaries included both the Republican ($325,000) and Democratic ($305,000) Governors Associations, as well as both candidates for Virginia governor last year (each received $20,000).

  • PhRMA also gave small political contributions to tons of state candidates across the nation — presumably ensuring friendly faces will be located in plenty of places.
  • Conservative ideology is obviously much more favorable to PhRMA, as it resists federal intervention in the marketplace. But the organization has clearly decided contributing to both parties is a worthwhile expenditure.

Be smart: PhRMA has always used its financial resources to influence state and federal policies that protect its members' profitable businesses, and the group arguably has more money to play with than ever.

  • But that didn't prevent PhRMA from being blindsided earlier this year when Congress shifted some Medicare costs to drug companies.

Go deeper

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

1 dead after pickup truck hits Pride spectators in Florida

Police investigate the scene where a pickup truck drove into a crowd of people at a Pride parade in Wilton Manors, Florida, on Saturday. Photo: Jason Koerner/Getty Images

A driver in a pickup truck hit spectators at a Pride festival in Wilton Manors, Florida, killing a man and leaving another person hospitalized Saturday, authorities said.

Details: Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis told reporters police had "apprehended the driver" and that the vehicle missed a parade car carrying Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) "by inches."

Updated 8 hours ago - Sports

Uganda Olympic team member tests positive for COVID in Tokyo

The Uganda National boxing team's Catherine Nanziri (L) and others arrive for check-in at Entebbe international airport in Wakiso, Uganda on Friday, ahead of their departure to participate in the Tokyo Olympic Games. Photo: Badru Katumba/AFP via Getty Images

A Uganda Olympic team member tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in Japan late Saturday, officials said.

Why it matters: Japan's government has faced criticism for vowing to host the Tokyo Games next month as coronavirus cases rise. The Ugandan team is the second to arrive in Japan after the Australian women's softball players, and this is the first COVID-19 infection detected among the Olympic athletes, Al Jazeera notes.

Updated 13 hours ago - World

In photos: Brazilians rally against Bolsonaro as COVID deaths top 500,000

A June 19 protest in São Paulo, Brazil, against the administration of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has railed against precautionary health measures despite the soaring COVID-19 death rate and cases. Photo: Rodrigo Paiva/Getty Images

Demonstrators took to the streets in at least 22 of Brazil’s 26 states to protest President Jair Bolsonaro's handling of the pandemic — as deaths from COVID-19 in the country surged past 500,000 Saturday, per AP.

The big picture: Brazil has the world's second-highest coronavirus death toll and third-highest number of reported cases. Only 12% of the country's population has been vaccinated against the virus, AP notes.