Statement from Margarida Jorge, campaign director for Lower Drug Prices Now, on news that the pharmaceutical industry spent $92 million to lobby the federal government on COVID vaccine distribution and drug pricing regulation:
In the first three months of the year, the pharmaceutical industry spent $92 million lobbying against efforts to protect people from their profiteering. It’s shameful. The fact is, prescription medicines and COVID vaccines can only work if people have affordable access to them. Clearly, that’s not the priority for Big Pharma players, who are more interested in protecting their monopoly patents than saving lives across the globe.
For too long, this has been the standard playbook of drug corporations: buying politicians in order to protect their monopoly control over prescription drug pricing in this country. And almost every year, they break a new record for how much they’re willing to spend on it. Whether it’s the TRIPS waiver or H.R.3, these companies will pull out all the stops to boost their profits, enrich their shareholders and keep their power to price-gouge.
We know the positive impact H.R.3 would have on the lives of patients — it would finally require drug corporations to negotiate with the government for lower drug prices and would hold the drug corporations accountable for charging Americans three times more for medicines than people in other countries pay.
This is an industry addicted to protecting profits instead of patients. That’s why Congress must pass common-sense regulations, create fair rules and end the loopholes that allow drug corporations to game the system so they can keep making more profits while millions go without medicines. These increased lobbying efforts are a clear reminder that without reform, Big Pharma will always work overtime to rig the system for their benefit — even during a global pandemic.