WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Accountable.US released the following statement on the disclosures of record-breaking lobbying and spending by the pharmaceutical industry in the first quarter of 2024. The massive spending by Big Pharma comes as they attempt to buy influence in the hopes of rolling back President Biden’s historic new program to allow Medicare to finally negotiate the price of prescription drugs and bring down costs for seniors and families. 

Big Pharma is flooding the Capitol with their high-priced lobbyists to buy influence and do everything they can to stop Medicare from negotiating with them over their obscene prices. From the millions of dollars they’re spending on lobbyists and campaign contributions, to the frivolous lawsuits they’re filing in the friendliest courts they can find, Big Pharma is pulling out all the stops to protect their profits. But people across the country want lower prescription drug prices and they support the Biden Administration’s efforts to rein in Big Pharma’s greed.”

Liz Zelnick, Director of the Economic Security & Corporate Power program at Accountable.US
  • Novo Nordisk, suing to stop Medicare drug negotiation, spent a record $2.18 million in quarterly lobbying in Q1 2024.
  • Eli Lilly, represented on the PhRMA board of directors by CEO David Ricks, spent $1.73 million in Q1 2024 fighting against Medicare drug negotiations
  • Eli Lilly contributed a staggering $15,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee and $5,000 to the House Conservatives Fund, a leadership PAC that supports House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA04) and Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN03).
    • Banks was the chairman of the Republican Study Committee (RSC) from 2021-2023, when the RSC authored a memo titled “52 Radical Policies In The Inflation Reduction Act.”
  • Eli Lilly also contributed an additional $5,000 to Speaker Johnson’s campaign.
    • Speaker Johnson also received $5,000 from Merck.
  • Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) received $9,500 in March 2024 from companies with drugs up for negotiation after introducing legislation in June 2023 to repeal the Inflation Reduction Act’s Medicare drug negotiation measures.
  • In March 2024, House Energy & Commerce Committee chairwoman Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA05) received $12,500 from companies with drugs up for Medicare negotiation.
    • Rodgers blasted Democrats for passing the IRA in August 2022 and even held a September 2023 hearing titled “At What Cost: Oversight of How the IRA’s Price Setting Scheme Means Fewer Cures for Patients.”

Earlier this year, several PhRMA-member drug companies demonstrated their obscene prices, which leave 1-in-4 Americans unable to afford the medicines prescribed by their doctors, were based on greed, not need:

  • Bristol Myers Squibb: BMS reported $8 billion in 2023 net earnings, up from $6.4 billion in 2022. The staggering total comes as the company faces sharp criticism for charging U.S. patients a whopping $7,100 for its blood thinner, Eliquis, when the same medication can be purchased in Canada for $900 or just $650 in France. In 2023, Eliquis brought in nearly $8.6 billion for BMS in just the United States, a 10% increase from the prior year. It is likely why it is one of the first 10 prescription drugs impacted by the Biden administration’s Medicare negotiation program. 
  • Merck: The company announced their earnings beat expectations, with quarterly revenue topping estimates. Merck executives boasted to investors while the company has faced sharp criticism for charging U.S. type-2 diabetes patients a whopping $6,900 for its diabetes treatment drug, Januvia, that patients can purchase in Canada for $900 or just $200 in France. Before the Biden administration announced Januvia was one of the first 10 drugs impacted by Medicare’s new negotiation power, Merck filed its own lawsuit against seeking to block the law’s measures working to lower costs for Medicare beneficiaries.
  • Johnson & Johnson: The company announced $35.1 billion in FY2023 earnings, exceeding Wall Street predictions and nearly doubling their year-over-year earnings. Johnson & Johnson Innovative Medicine, formerly known as Janssen Pharmaceuticals, is suing the administration after three of the drugs they produce were selected for the initial round of Medicare drug negotiations.
  • Eli Lilly: The company reported $2.19 billion in Q4 2023 net income—an astonishing amount made possible by aggressive price hikes against American seniors and patients. Eli Lilly raised overall prices in the United States by 27% in Q4 2023.

In July 2023, an Accountable.US analysis found that the five largest U.S. pharmaceutical companies by market cap saw profits rise steadily from FY 2021 to FY 2022, as price increases and acquisitions of competing firms led to generous shareholder handouts at the expense of Americans struggling to afford life-saving medicine. While manufacturers reportedly upped prices on at least 350 drugs in the U.S. in January, Accountable.US’ review found these top drug companies reported combined earnings of $81.9 billion — an over $8.8 billion increase from 2021 — while combined stock buybacks and dividends increased by $4.4 billion and $2.5 billion, respectively.



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