13 GOP House members who took Big Pharma money voted against lower drug prices for seniors

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The House Republicans have taken a total of $998,895 in contributions from the pharmaceutical industry this year.

On August 12, Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Inflation Reduction Act over the opposition of every Republican in the chamber. The historic bill will reduce the federal budget deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars and includes $369 billion in funding for energy projects and combating climate change.

The sweeping legislation also includes provisions to make health care more affordable for all Americans. The bill overcame many obstacles, including fierce opposition from the pharmaceutical industry, which spent millions of dollars to lobby against it.

At least 13 of the GOP members of Congress who voted against the Inflation Reduction Act and are running for reelection this year took nearly a million dollars in campaign donations from the pharmaceutical industry, according to the candidates' campaign finance reports.

They include Reps. David Schweikert (R-AZ), David Valadao (R-CA), Mike Garcia (R-CA), Michelle Steel (R-CA), Ken Calvert (R-CA), Young Kim (R-CA), Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA), Ashley Hinson (R-IA), Don Bacon (R-NE), Andrew Garbarino (R-NY), Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY), and Steve Chabot (R-OH).

Valadao, who has been in Congress since 2013, received $219,967 in campaign contributions from the pharmaceutical industry in the 2022 election cycle — the most of any of the 13 GOP members of Congress who are running for reelection. Schweikert received $164,008 in pharmaceutical industry contributions, while Calvert received $153,365 and Chabot received $149,892.

The 13 Republicans have received $998,895 in total contributions from the pharmaceutical industry this year.

In the lead-up to the Congressional vote on the IRA, the main pharmaceutical lobby PhRMA and several of its allies spent $18.6 million on television and digital ads to thwart the bill's passage, according to a Washington Post report. Research conducted by drug price reform group Patients for Affordable Drugs Now found that the lobby ran ads in July and August that made misleading claims that the IRA would interfere with senior citizens' ability to get medication.

In addition, at least three Republican congressional candidates have taken significant campaign contributions from the pharmaceutical industry while opposing state legislation that would lower drug prices. They are Tyler Kistner, who is running to represent Minnesota's 2nd district; Barbara Kirkmeyer, a member of the Colorado General Assembly, who is running to represent the state's 8th district; and Kevin Kiley, a member of the California State Assembly, who is running to represent California's 3rd district.

In 2021, Kirkmeyer, who was elected in 2020 to represent Colorado's 23rd Senate district, voted against a bill to create a prescription drug affordability board in the state and a bill to cap the price of insulin in the state. She's received over $1,400 in campaign contributions from local PACs representing different pharmaceutical companies.

Kiley, who has represented California's 6th district in the state assembly since 2016, meanwhile, voted against a bill in California for the state to manufacture its own insulin, as a way to lower the cost of the medication. His Congressional campaign has received more than $33,000 in contributions so far this year. During his 2016 election, an analysis of campaign finance data revealed that Jonathan Sackler, the late co-owner of Purdue Pharma, whose family has profited billions of dollars off of the opioid crisis it largely helped fuel, donated $4,200 to Kiley's state assembly campaign.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.