OPEN SECRETS: Efforts to reduce drug prices stall amid pharmaceutical lobbying

By Jessica Piper

Prescription drug prices are too high — there is a bipartisan consensus on that much in Washington, as recent estimates suggest that the average American spends about $1,200 on prescription drugs each year.

But ambitious legislation designed to curtail these rising costs is stalled as pharmaceutical companies spend tens of millions of dollars lobbying against the measures.

Drug manufacturers spent $52 million on lobbying in the first quarter of 2019 after spending $169 million on lobbying the previous year. A total of 116 companies and associations have lobbied on behalf of the industry so far in 2019, with 692 individual lobbyists.

The Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America, a trade group representing three dozendrug companies, was the third-largest lobbying client across all industries during the first quarter of 2019. The group spent $10 million to deploy 163 registered lobbyists, 70 percent of whom have been through the revolving door.

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