CITIZENS FOR BETTER MEDICARE: Spending Record Amounts
The Wall Street Journal today continues coverage of the ongoing pharmaceutical industry campaign to fight assaults from "ambitious politicians" in every state. Drug companies, led by the group Citizens for Better Medicare, have spent "unprecedented sums of money" in this year's campaign. Currently, Citizens for Better Medicare is spending more than $1 million a week on issue ads, adding to its total of $38 million spent this election cycle -- more than any other group, excluding the Democratic and Republican parties. The drug industry's "Washington trade association" has spent $22 million on image advertising; major drug companies have donated $11.2 million in campaign contributions and have spent $236 million since 1997 to pay 297 lobbyists. The Journal also reports that an "industry task force" meets regularly to assess the damage to its image and to "plan responses during the campaign." The most visible presence in the industry's campaign, however, has been the Citizens For Better Medicare campaign, which is running issue ads in 18 congressional districts with competitive House races and four states with tight Senate races. Kathleen Hall Jamieson, dean of the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School of Communication, said, "There isn't any other industry that has spent this kind of money (on an election). This effort is extraordinary, and it is likely to be a model for future campaigns." Jamieson also said that despite the intense scrutiny the industry is facing, she believes that the pricey campaign will payoff. "There is consensus around the idea of adding a prescription-drug coverage without price controls. That's just what the industry wants," she said (Hamburger, 9/22).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.