Big Pharma spent a record $92M on lobbying in Q1— for what?

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The pharmaceutical industry is on track to break its annual lobbying spending record for the second year in a row, with most of the $92 million it spent during 2021's first quarter going toward efforts to block Medicare reform and protect patents.

The pharmaceutical lobby spends more than any other industry, according to a May 8 Truthout report. During the first three months of 2021, Pfizer alone spent $3.7 million on lobbying. PhRMA, a prevalent industry trade group, spent $8.7 million on lobbying during the same time period. 

Both entities lobbied hard against waiving patent protections for COVID-19 products, but U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced May 5 the U.S. will support waiving intellectual patent protections.

The pharmaceutical industry also poured millions into the American Action Network, a dark money group that recently launched a $4 million ad campaign against HR 3, House Democrats' signature drug-pricing measure. HR 3 would allow the HHS secretary to negotiate lower drug prices through Medicare, cap out-of-pocket drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries at $2,000 annually and penalize drugmakers for price gouging. 

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