Given the state of things now, it’s easy to lose hope. But then you get someone willing to speak out and the glimmer of hope comes back. There is obviously no guarantee that anything will happen, but the small spark of someone willing to speak truth is often just enough to start a fire.

“Dr. Raeford Brown, a pediatric anesthesia specialist at the UK Kentucky Children’s Hospital and chair of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Committee on Analgesics and Anesthetics, has been openly critical of big pharma and the lack of proper oversight from the FDA.

Despite many politicians, particularly declared presidential candidates, beginning to speak out against big pharma, Brown does not think that anything will come out of it ‘because Congress is owned by pharma.’

‘The pharmaceutical industry pours millions of dollars into the legislative branch every single year,’ he told Yahoo Finance. ‘In 2016, they put $100 million into the elections. That’s a ton of money.’”1

Wonder just how much they are giving? Check out the list below, courtesy of OpenSecrets, a website operated by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics that tracks money in U.S. politics. The infographic below ranks the top 20 members of the House and the Senate that have received the most campaign contributions from the pharmaceutical and health products industry during the 2017-2018 election cycle:

Contributions from the pharmaceutical and health products industry during the 2017-2018 election cycle. (Photo: screenshot/OpenSecrets)

Notice number two, Kevin McCarthy’s (the current House minority leader) total of $380,350 in campaign contributions? A large amount of that came from pharma companies like Abbott Laboratories (ABT), Pfizer (PFE), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Eli Lilly (LLY), Amgen (AMGN), and Merck (MRK).

And Brown is concerned, as am I. He said, “I’m really much more concerned because Congress is supposed to have oversight for the FDA. If the FDA isn’t going to hold pharma accountable, and Congress is getting paid to not hold pharma accountable, then it really doesn’t matter who the president is because it’s really about Congress.”1

We couldn’t agree more. And our friend RFK Jr. agrees, too. Check out his article on this issue here.


Democrats and Republicans alike benefit from Big Pharma donations. (Photo: screenshot/OpenSecrets)

Just a couple of gems we should ALL be aware of when discussing why our elected officials seem to have no desire to actually serve the people that elected them:1

  • Fourteen out of the top 20 recipients in the House were Republicans.
  • Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), former speaker of the House, received $222,070, seeing most of the funds coming from Merck.
  • Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), received $238,289 in donations, with Merck being the biggest donor among manufacturing companies.
  • Fifteen out of the top 20 recipients in the Senate were Democrats.
  • Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), a former congressman and current presidential candidate, received $171,255.
  • Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), current presidential candidate, received over half of her big pharma money from Pfizer, with Amgen, AbbVie (ABBV), and Johnson & Johnson also in the mix. Overall, she received a total of $151,197 from the pharmaceutical/health product industry.
  • Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), current presidential candidate, who has repeatedly stated in public appearances that she will not be bought by big pharma, has been bought to the tune of $8,500 coming from pharmaceutical companies, with Abbott Laboratories being her biggest pharma donor at $8,000.
  • Richard Burr (R-N.C.) (not among the top 20 senators in big pharma money) received $6000 in donations from Purdue for the 2017-2018 election cycle. Since 2007, Purdue has contributed $170,250 to his campaigns, according to Kaiser Health News.
  • And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who ranks 12th among senators on the list, received $149,113, with Eli Lilly being the prevailing big pharma company.


Democrats and Republicans alike benefit from Big Pharma donations. (Photo: screenshot/OpenSecrets)

Top pharma contributions in the 2017-18 election cycle by company. (Photo: screenshot/OpenSecrets)

Due to the nearly 2,000 lawsuits that Purdue Pharma faces thanks to their creation of the opioid crisis currently gripping our country, the company is exploring filing for bankruptcy.

SOURCE:

  1. Yahoo!