Democratic groups launch ad campaign attacking Trump, GOP on drug pricing

Democratic groups launch ad campaign attacking Trump, GOP on drug pricing
© Getty Images

A new advertising campaign spearheaded by Democratic strategists aims to excoriate congressional Republicans and the Trump administration for opposing Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiREAD: House impeachment managers' trial brief Desperate Democrats badmouth economy even as it booms Pelosi offers message to Trump on Bill Maher show: 'You are impeached forever' MORE’s (D-Calif.) drug pricing legislation.

The Patients Over Pharma campaign is run by Accountable.US, an umbrella organization of progressive watchdog groups that attacks the Trump administration’s apparent conflicts of interest and ties to industry groups.

Lowering drug prices polls consistently as one of the top issues for voters, and the ad campaign is an example of how Democrats and progressive groups plan to spotlight Pelosi’s sweeping bill as the central piece to their health messaging in 2020.

ADVERTISEMENT

The group declined to say how large the budget was for the project, which will include running ads throughout the election season. 

The new campaign “will focus on exposing the deep ties between the Trump administration and the pharmaceutical industry, the revolving door between Big Pharma and the federal government, and how this corruption is hurting patients and preventing any meaningful progress toward reducing the cost of prescription drugs,” Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US, said in a statement.

“Exposing Big Pharma influence and corruption and calling on policymakers to keep their promises is going to be absolutely critical in the months ahead,” Herrig added. 

A spokesman noted that the ads will be focused on the issue of drug pricing only and will not advocate for or against any particular candidates.

The campaign launched on the heels of the House passage of H.R. 3, Pelosi’s signature drug pricing legislation which would allow the government to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs.

ADVERTISEMENT

The bill has already been declared “dead on arrival” in the Republican-controlled Senate, but Democrats argue that price negotiation is the only meaningful way to bring down prescription drug prices and reform the pharmaceutical industry. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHawley expects McConnell's final impeachment resolution to give White House defense ability to motion to dismiss Democrats file brief against Trump, 'the Framers' worst nightmare' Iran resolution supporters fear impeachment will put it on back burner MORE (R-Ky.) is also reluctant to hold a vote on a separate bipartisan bill, sponsored by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleySenate begins preparations for Trump trial Big Pharma looks to stem losses after trade deal defeat Appeals court skeptical of Trump rule on TV drug ads MORE (R-Iowa) and ranking member Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenHillicon Valley: Biden calls for revoking tech legal shield | DHS chief 'fully expects' Russia to try to interfere in 2020 | Smaller companies testify against Big Tech 'monopoly power' Lawmakers call for FTC probe into top financial data aggregator Overnight Health Care: Progressives raise red flags over health insurer donations | Republican FTC commish backs Medicare negotiating drug prices | Trump moves to protect money for religious groups MORE (D-Ore.), that would limit the price increases drug companies typically make every year.

During the 2016 campaign, Trump famously broke with his party and said he supported letting the government negotiate drug prices. But the White House distanced itself from Pelosi’s bill and eventually came out against the legislation. 

Democrats think highlighting Trump’s lack of follow-through on negotiating drug prices for Medicare will be a strong line of attack in next year's elections.