How Much of Big Pharma’s Massive Profits Are Used to Influence Politicians?
- Whenever it’s called out for charging too much for drugs or outright price gouging, the pharmaceutical industry’s standard defense is to assure the public that its profits will be used to develop even better drugs in the future. Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli clung to that defense in late September when asked to explain his sudden decision to hike the price of a longstanding anti-parasitic drug by more than $700, prompting a collective eye roll among medical experts and an outraged public.
In reality, a good chunk of pharmaceutical “research and development” comes from the subsidized labs at universities and the National Institutes of Health, and now angry consumers and even some prominent politicians are demanding that the industry put its money where its mouth is.
Large pharmaceutical firms are some of the most profitable companies in the world, so what do they spend all their money on, besides advertising and hefty salaries for rich kid CEOs? Sure, some profits are reinvested to fund research and clinical trials, but hundreds of millions of dollars are also spent on political operations every year, and federal law requires that drug companies disclose this political spending to the public.
Dollars for Docs
Pharmaceutical and medical device companies are required by law to release details of their payments to a variety of doctors and U.S. teaching hospitals for promotional talks, research and consulting, among other categories. Use this tool to search for general payments (excluding research and ownership interests) made from August 2013 to December 2016.
Read More: https://projects.propublica.org/docdollars/