Big Pharma Raked in $82B Last Year While Lobbying Against Drug Price Proposals

The businesses additionally upped their inventory buyback and dividend payouts by almost $7 billion final yr.

Because the pharmaceutical {industry} is toiling across the clock to destroy Democrats’ plan to permit Medicare to barter drug costs, a brand new report reveals that high {industry} gamers are raking in billions, padding their very own pockets as they work to revoke advantages from tens of millions of individuals.

In accordance with an analysis by Accountable.US, the 5 largest pharmaceutical firms within the U.S. collectively reported income of $82 billion in 2022, a rise of almost $9 billion from 2021. Basking in these income, the businesses circled and elevated their inventory buybacks and dividend payouts by almost $7 billion, compounding hundreds of billions of {dollars} that giant pharmaceutical firms have spent on buybacks and dividends lately.

The evaluation included firms like Eli Lilly, the U.S.’s largest pharmaceutical firm primarily based on market cap, which has raised the worth of its insulin drug Humalog by 600 p.c since 1996. Eli Lilly noticed its internet earnings enhance by 12 p.c to over $6 billion in fiscal yr 2022.

Johnson & Johnson, the second largest pharmaceutical firm within the U.S., spent almost $18 billion on dividends and inventory buybacks in fiscal yr 2022, regardless of its internet earnings reducing by 14 p.c between 2021 and 2022 after the corporate purchased a medical system firm for $16.6 billion.

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Merck, the third-largest pharmaceutical firm, noticed its income climb by 11 p.c final yr, leading to a $14.5 billion revenue. Merck has filed one among a number of industry-backed lawsuits towards final yr’s Inflation Discount Act (IRA), claiming that the invoice’s plan to permit Medicare to start negotiating the worth of less than two dozen drugs over the subsequent six years is unconstitutional and violates the corporate’s First Modification rights to free speech.

On high of Merck’s lawsuit, every of the 5 pharmaceutical firms included within the evaluation contributed funds to or sits on the board of Huge Pharma lobbying agency PhRMA. As well as to filing its own swimsuit over the Medicare drug value negotiation plan, PhRMA lobbied fiercely against the IRA; in 2022, PhRMA was the biggest spender of all pharmaceutical lobbying teams, shelling out $29.2 million for its lobbying efforts. General, the {industry} spent a document $372 million on lobbying final yr, with a big portion of lobbying efforts geared toward opposing the IRA.

Pfizer, as an example, has contributed not less than $106,000 to PhRMA over the previous many years, whereas Eli Lilly and AbbVie have given not less than $45,000, the evaluation finds. Pfizer’s CEO, who called the drug value plan that’s frequent in different U.S. companies “negotiation with a gun to your head,” is the treasurer of PhRMA, whereas Eli Lilly, Johnson & Johnson and Merck are represented on PhRMA’s board. AbbVie’s Government Vice President Jeffrey R. Stewart was on PhRMA’s board of administrators earlier than the corporate departed the group final yr.

The pharmaceutical {industry}’s income — on high of their quest to kill authorities applications that might assist some sufferers afford their merchandise — paint an image of an {industry} hungry to reward its shareholders over every thing else.

“Seniors and households already struggling to afford life-saving medicines are informed to brace for additional value hikes by the identical {industry} that noticed its income and shareholder rewards skyrocket by billions in a yr. It solely provides as much as company greed,” Liz Zelnick, Director of Financial Safety and Company Energy for Accountable.US, stated in a statement. “Pharma executives’ claims that analysis and improvement bills drive prices stay unconvincing when these prices are sometimes eclipsed by billions of {dollars} in handouts to a small group of rich traders.”

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