PhRMA spends record high $27.5 million on lobbying in 2018

PhRMA spends record high $27.5 million on lobbying in 2018
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The pharmaceutical industry's main trade group spent a record high amount of money on lobbying in 2018, according to disclosure reports released Tuesday.

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) spent $27.5 million on lobbying, more than it ever has in a single year.

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The pharmaceutical industry has upped its spending over the last few years as it faces  immense pressure over high drug prices from the public, Congress and the Trump administration. 

PhRMA battled multiple attacks from Congress last year, ultimately sinking a bipartisan bill intended to bring cheaper generics to the market. 

But it was unable to defeat a provision that raised the share of costs that drug companies have to pay for Medicare's Part D drug program. 

Trump also released a blueprint to lower drug prices in 2018, and the Trump administration proposed several rules aimed at bringing down costs. 

The second highest year for the organization was 2009, when Congress was debating ObamaCare and the organization shelled out $26 million to push for provisions favorable to drug makers. 

PhRMA's spending on lobbying decreased after the health care law was passed, but sharply increased again when Trump, who has accused drug companies of getting away with murder, took office.

In 2017, PhRMA spent $25 million on lobbying, compared to the $20 million it spent the previous year. 

Both Congress and the Trump administration have promised drug companies they're in for a rough 2019, which could lead to higher lobbying totals. 

The new Democratic House majority has promised to haul in drug makers to testify about escalating drug costs, and the administration is working to finalize rules that are fiercely opposed by the industry.

Last week, the House Oversight and Reform Committee launched an investigation on high drug prices, asking a dozen companies for detailed information about how they price their medications.

The committee scheduled a hearing for next week on drug prices.