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

Democratic groups launch ad campaign attacking Trump, GOP on drug pricing
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A new advertising campaign spearheaded by Democratic strategists aims to excoriate congressional Republicans and the Trump administration for opposing Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDC argues it is shortchanged by coronavirus relief bill Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — US coronavirus cases hit 100,000 | Trump signs T stimulus package | Trump employs defense powers to force GM to make ventilators | New concerns over virus testing Hillicon Valley: Apple rolls out coronavirus screening app, website | Pompeo urged to crack down on coronavirus misinformation from China | Senators push FTC on price gouging | Instacart workers threaten strike 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.

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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.

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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 McConnellHillicon Valley: Apple rolls out coronavirus screening app, website | Pompeo urged to crack down on coronavirus misinformation from China | Senators push FTC on price gouging | Instacart workers threaten strike Trump signs T coronavirus relief package Pelosi not invited by Trump to White House coronavirus relief bill's signing 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 GrassleyLobbying blitz yields wins for airlines, corporations, banks, unions Chances for drug pricing, surprise billing action fade until November Stimulus talks to miss McConnell's Monday deadline MORE (R-Iowa) and ranking member Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenHillicon Valley: Apple rolls out coronavirus screening app, website | Pompeo urged to crack down on coronavirus misinformation from China | Senators push FTC on price gouging | Instacart workers threaten strike Senate Democrats vow to keep pushing for more funds for mail-in voting Hillicon Valley: Coronavirus deal includes funds for mail-in voting | Twitter pulled into fight over virus disinformation | State AGs target price gouging | Apple to donate 10M masks 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.