Pushing Prescriptions: How the Drug Industry Sells Its Agenda at Your Expense
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The drug industry, Washingtons's largest lobby, spent more than $189 million on lobbying last year, a recent investigation from the Center for Public Integrity shows. That's up 32 percent since 2006 and -- get this -- nearly three times the amount they spent on lobbying in 1998, the first for which year complete data is available.
CPI's report, Pushing Prescriptions: How the Drug Industry Sells Its Agenda at Your Expense, also shows that Big Pharma has significantly upped its campaign contributions to Democrats since their November 2006 win. Nearly half of that money went to members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, House Committee on Ways and Means, and Senate Committee on Health, Education and Labor -- all of which are supposed to regulate the pharmaceutical industry.
Apparently, all that cash did the trick. The drug companies' intense lobbying -- I wish we could just say "bribing" and call it what it really is -- has sped up the drug approval process (arguably decreasing the attention given to drug safety), delayed the entry of lower cost generic drugs to the market, increased direct-to-consumer advertising (which has risen 20-fold in the last 10 years), created incentives for performing drug testing on kids, and resulted in a serious conflict of interest by "making the FDA dependent on the industry it regulates for budgetary resources."
Read the full report here.
Heather Gehlert is a managing editor at AlterNet.