PhRMA ups lobbying by 30 percent in Trump's first year of presidency

PhRMA ups lobbying by 30 percent in Trump's first year of presidency
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The pharmaceutical industry's top trade group responded to growing anger over rising drug costs in 2017 by upping its federal lobbying spending by 30 percent.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) increased its lobbying expenditures from $20 million in 2016 to $25.4 million in 2017. 

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The biggest jump in spending came in the first quarter of 2017, when President TrumpDonald John TrumpCould Donald Trump and Boris Johnson be this generation's Reagan-Thatcher? Merkel backs Democratic congresswomen over Trump How China's currency manipulation cheats America on trade MORE declared that drug companies were "getting away with murder." 

PhRMA upped its lobbying expenditures by 35 percent, from $6 million in the first quarter of 2016 to $8 million in the first quarter of 2017. 

“The other thing we have to do is create new bidding procedures for the drug industry, because they're getting away with murder," Trump said last January.

"Pharma has a lot of lobbies, a lot of lobbyists, a lot of power. And there's very little bidding on drugs." 

PhRMA is often a top spender in lobbying, with only the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Realtors spending more in 2017.

It has increased the amount it spends on lobbying over the years, from $16.5 million in 2014 to $25.4 million in 2017.

According to the lobbying disclosure filed Monday, the group focused on a large range of issues, including drug importation, 340B (a Medicare discount drug program), "drug cost and pricing policy issues" and tax reform. 

In 2017, the group also launched a multimillion-dollar advertising and public affairs campaign touting industry breakthroughs. 

Despite Trump's tough talk, however, his administration has yet to take action toward lowering drug prices, and some of his policies have even been viewed as being favorable to the industry.