The two big groups that lobby on behalf of drug companies set a new record for their collective spending in the first year of the Trump administration.
Shelling out a combined sum of nearly $35 million to lobby the federal government in 2017, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and the Biotechnology Innovation Organization upped their expenditures at a time when the sweeping tax overhaul was on the line and fears of a crackdown on drug pricing were top of mind. Remarkably, however, the record-setting spending push came in spite of the fact that neither group took a position on the biggest health policy story of the year, the long and steady Republican quest to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
PhRMA came just short of breaking its own record. The group spent more than $25 million — just about $700,000 shy of its spending total in 2009, at the height of the debate over the ACA in the first year of the Obama administration. BIO spent more than $9 million, the most since at least 1999, the earliest year quarterly lobbying spending is available online for the two organizations.