Drug Companies’ ‘Soft Money’ Filling Republican Coffers
In an effort to "blunt" congressional Democrats' promotion of a Medicare prescription drug benefit, which the drug industry "staunchly opposes," pharmaceutical companies in recent months have donated $1.3 million to "House Republican campaign coffers," the Washington Post reports. This year, drug companies have given the National Republican Congressional Committee almost $1.9 million. The latest "soft money" contributions include $200,000 each from Eli Lilly and Co., Aventis Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Glaxo-Wellcome Inc.; $262,500 from Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.; $237,500 from Pfizer Inc.; $137,500 from Pharmacia Corp.; $100,000 from Schering-Plough Corp.; and $10,000 from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. Eli Lilly, Bristol-Myers and Pharmacia also gave $600,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee in August, while Glaxo-Wellcome added $250,000 last month. In addition, the pharmaceutical industry-backed Citizens for Better Medicare has spent more than $30 million on commercials criticizing Vice President Al Gore's plan to provide a prescription drug benefit directly through Medicare, which the pharmaceutical industry "abhors." Most drug companies favor a GOP plan to provide prescription drugs through a government-subsidized program that relies on private insurance companies rather than Medicare (Mintz, Washington Post, 10/26).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.