New group plans midterm spending against high drug prices

New group plans midterm spending against high drug prices
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A new patient group says it plans to spend seven figures this year backing candidates who support policies to lower drug prices in what it hopes will be a counter to the pharmaceutical industry.

The group is called Patients for Affordable Drugs NOW, and is founded by a cancer patient named David Mitchell.

The group is circulating a questionnaire to candidates, and says that it could back some Republicans as well as Democrats, depending on candidates’ positions on drug prices.

“We will go after anyone who shills for pharmaceutical companies, if you are a Democrat [or] if you are a Republican,” said Ben Wakana, the group’s president.

The group hopes to be a counter to pharmaceutical companies’ spending on lobbying and on elections. It's planning television and digital advertising as well as other voter-mobilization efforts.

“Anyone who's been a patient or a family member of a patient knows that drug corporations rake in record profits and rip off Americans struggling to pay the bills,” Mitchell said in a statement. “In poll after poll, Americans say lowering prescription drug prices should be a top priority in Congress yet time after time, Congress ignores it. No more. We will give patients a voice in the midterm elections to support real steps that will lower drug prices.”

The new group is the more political version of Patients for Affordable Drugs, which Mitchell founded last year.

The new effort says it receives its principal funding from the Action Now Initiative, an advocacy group sponsored by the billionaire hedge fund manager John Arnold and his wife, Laura.