SVG Sprites

New Report: Big Pharma Lobbying & Political Spending Match Senator Collins’ RX Votes

New Report: Big Pharma Lobbying and Political Spending Match Senator Collins’ Votes on Prescription Drug Access and Affordability


Portland, ME — Today, Lower Drug Prices Now released a new report highlighting how drug corporations’ spending on lobbying and elections match up with Senator Susan Collins’ votes on health care and prescription drug pricing. The new report, Connecting the Dots on Pharma Lobbying, Political Donations and Senator Collins’ Votes on Drug Pricing and Access, shows that while Senator Collins claims to be independent from the Trump Administration and the drug industry, her votes tell a different story.

The report details drug corporations’ spending on lobby expenditures and political contributions in order to influence policy outcomes that preserve Big Pharma’s high profits and monopoly power over prices. Since her election to the Senate in 1996, Senator Collins has received over $478,000 from drug industry corporations, PACS and individuals. Although she is by no means the biggest recipient of Pharma cash, Senator Collins’ voting pattern has more consistently benefited drug corporations than Maine constituents. The report finds that:

  • While Senator Collins has denied taking political contributions from opioid corporations, records show that she received a campaign donation from Jonathan Sackler, former VP of Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin.
  • A former PhRMA lobbyist sits in a top advisory position on her re-election campaign: Josh Tardy is Collins’ re-election committee co-chair and currently a registered lobbyist for Eli Lilly, the largest domestic producer of insulin.
  • Senator Collins has received $22,000 directly from the drug industry so far this year.
  • Despite her claims to fight for lower drug prices as a founder of the Senate’s Diabetes Caucus, her votes in Congress have too often benefited drug corporations over her constituents.

Collins’ vote in support of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act laid the groundwork for the current Supreme Court challenge to the Affordable Care Act, California vs. Texas, which will be heard on November 10.  An ACA repeal, like the TJCA itself, would benefit drug corporations tremendously by giving them an additional $2.8 billion annually in tax breaks. Meanwhile, nearly 200,000 people would lose coverage and 225,000 could face higher costs, or denials of coverage because of pre-existing conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, or drug addiction.

“Lots of politicians take Pharma money directly or indirectly—the real question is whether they then vote for policies that benefit those donors, or prioritize their constituents instead,” said Margarida Jorge, Campaign Director of Lower Drug Prices Now. “Senator Collins has voted against key reforms that would actually make medicines more affordable for people in Maine and across the country, including negotiations in Medicare Part D, which would lower costs for seniors and people with disabilities who tend to take more medicines than other groups.”

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