By the end of 2016, the Pharma Industry had started to catch flak for the high drug prices they were enforcing, particularly on life-saving drugs. Causing an uproar among consumers for their backhanded practices, it was being assumed that the pharma industry was finally going to incorporate changes for the better.
Unfortunately, it looks like big pharma isn’t going to change without putting up a fight. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America – PhRMA have been found to be making donations among politicians, lobbyists as well as patient groups, particularly those that are faced with high drug prices directly.
Comprising of multi-national businesses such as Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Celgene, Amgen and others like them, the group has done its best to stop measures being introduced by policymakers and lawmakers which would introduce more transparency to the pricing of these drugs.
With large donations being given to the American Autoimmune Related Disease Association (AARDA), the American Lung Association (ALA), the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), and the Lupus Foundation of America it can be said that the group is making a positive impact on the medical community. While the patient groups receiving these donations deny their donations influence the overall decisions made for the high drug price policies, it is difficult to overlook this aspect.
These generous donations come after big pharma has faced so much backlash and bad publicity. Many consider this to be part of a pattern that PhRMA indulges in from time to time, especially when the industry is being threatened or bad publicity is damaging the prospects of other pharma companies. It is also speculated that these donations are made in a bid for the member companies in PhRMA to distance themselves from the negative backlash that those with bad practices are bringing upon them it is interesting to note that this isn’t the first time that PhRMA has done this.
A Sinister Motive
PhRMA also engages in political financing from time to time and has often done so to sway decisions when the tide is against them. Many donations were made to various states, particularly the ones that were looking to enforce stricter measures in pricing. The most surprising example can be seen in PhRMA’s generous donation of $64 million to a fund in California. This was done to sue and stop a movement being started in California which would have allowed state agencies to pay the same amount for drugs that the Department of Veteran Affairs had to pay.
Recently, PhRMA has also sued California for trying to pass a law that would force pharma companies to not only provide prior notice for increasing drug prices but also provide sufficient proof for the reason behind the price change. Although this has made the process longer for the law to be passed, California is still pushing to get the bill approved. The same has happened in Colorado and Louisiana when proposals were brought forward for pharma companies to be more transparent about their drug prices for the sake of their consumers.
With so much proof against them, it looks like there might be more controversy regarding high drug prices before the matter is completely solved.
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