Pharmaceutical Payoffs to Congress

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The main reason Americans pay more for the same drugs than patients in other countries is Congress.

Why does my Advair inhaler cost $70 in Canada and $440 in the US?  Congress.  It’s the same product from the same manufacturer (GSK) with no differences in effectiveness or safety.

Question:  If Medicaid and Medicare could pay the Canadian prices for drugs, would these programs be less costly to operate?  Is Congress itself running up the costs and then complaining about them?

Congress gives drug companies extended protection against competition and bars consumers from buying the drugs from vendors in other countries.

Why is Congress so nice to drug companies?  Its because drug companies PAY THEM.

Drug companies have given 310 Congressmen more than $7.2 million dollars, with the largest contributions going to two Republican leaders, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy ($290,000, who represents the California 23rd District in the Bakersfield area) and House Speaker Paul Ryan ($293,000, Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District).

In the three years leading up to the 2016 election, the pharmaceutical industry gave an additional $10.2 million to various Congressmen.

The other Congressmen who received large donations opposed an effort to reform Medicare Part B to reduce costs to patients and taxpayers.  The big winners in drug donations include:

U.S. Representatives Who Signed the Republican Letter opposing a reform of Medicare Part B to reduce costs to patients and taxpayers 2016 Pharmaceutical / Health Products Industry Contributions
Shimkus, John M (R-IL) $220,490
Brady, Kevin (R-TX) $202,751
Paulsen, Erik (R-MN) $183,650
Upton, Fred (R-MI) $164,350
Ellmers, Renee (R-NC) $141,949
Guthrie, Brett (R-KY) $137,449
Lance, Leonard (R-NJ) $134,100
Tiberi, Patrick J (R-OH) $121,400
Walden, Greg (R-OR) $120,250
Blackburn, Marsha (R-TN) $113,585
Brooks, Susan (R-IN) $108,450
Meehan, Patrick (R-PA) $108,410
Dold, Bob (R-IL) $107,150
Scalise, Steve (R-LA) $102,300
Costello, Ryan (R-PA) $101,150

So, are you voting for someone who is hurting you financially?  Don’t you think you should know?

 

Sources:

(1) http://www.beckersasc.com/asc-coding-billing-and-collections/pharmaceutical-companies-pay-7-2m-to-lawmakers-opposing-medicare-part-b-proposal-4-insights.html

(2) http://maplight.org/us-congress/interest#sector=Agribusiness

(3)  Public Citizen, “Pharma’s Orders”.  Washington, D.C.  11 July 2016

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