DRUG COMPANIES: Bolster GOP Senate Races with Cash
Attempting to block the Democratic version of a Medicare prescription drug benefit, three major pharmaceutical companies last month donated a total of $600,000 to Republican Senate campaigns within a 13-day period, the Washington Post reports. The three $200,000 "soft-money" contributions came from Eli Lilly & Co., Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and Pharmacia & Upjohn Co. The money indicates "a growing concern by the companies and the GOP that the prescription drug issue is proving a potent one for Democrats in a number of close races," the Post reports. The Medicare prescription drug issue is being prominently featured in tight Senate races in a number of battleground states including those in Florida, Michigan, Missouri, Montana and Washington. According to the Post, the industry favors the Republican Medicare prescription drug proposal, which is a federally subsidized plan offered through private health insurance companies. Jeff Trewhitt, spokesperson for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, said, "It's no secret that we have serious reservations about government control programs and price controls that stifle innovation." But the drug industry's GOP preference dates back to before the Medicare prescription drug issue, the Post reports. 1990 was the last year that industry contributions to both parties were equal and since 1996, about two-thirds of all industry contributions have gone to the GOP (Morgan, Washington Post, 9/26).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.