FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Why the Drug Companies Push the GOP

Oh true Apothecary! Thy drugs are quick.

Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

The drug companies are our friends. Making drugs that make us well is not all they do. They use part of their profits to make sure that the very best people are elected to the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. The very best people are Republicans.

Through September 2006 drug companies had given $8.7 million to political campaigns. If both Democrats and Republicans were equally good, those funds would be distributed evenly between the two parties. Democrats and Republicans are not equally good-Republicans are better. That’s why 69% of drug company contributions have gone to Republican candidates. (In fairness it must be noted that although Pfizer sent 67% of its contributions to Republicans before October, its most recent disclosures show that it has had some sort of epiphany and during October gave only 41% of its contributions to Republicans and 59% to Democrats. There is no logical explanation for this change of heart.)

Drug companies are, of course, deeply indebted to the Republicans. In crafting the Medicare prescription drug benefit that went into effect in 2006, the Republicans left drug pricing to the free market place. One of the proposals that Democrats favored would have permitted Medicare to negotiate prices for drugs that were part of the prescription drug benefit. Republicans did not like that idea since that inserts the federal government into a decision that should be only between the senior and his or her pharmacist. Thanks to the failure of that proposal here is a scene that is repeated thousands of times a day around the country.

The senior walks into the pharmacy and asks for prescription X and is told how much it costs. If the senior does not like the price the senior tells the pharmacist that if the price does not come down, the senior is going to buy the drug at a different pharmacy. Most pharmacists will immediately ask the senior how much the senior is willing to pay and as soon as the senior tells the pharmacist what a fair price is the pharmacist fills the prescription at the lower price and notifies the drug company that in the future the pharmacist will be paying the drug company less. This is an example of the Republican’s idea of the free market in action and that is why they refused to let Medicare negotiate drug prices. They knew seniors could do a better job on their own. That is not all the Republicans did for seniors. The Republicans made sure that the new prescription drug program would not permit the federal government to start its own drug program that would provide seniors with lower prices. That, too, would not be the American way.

All of this helps explain why the drug companies have given Republican Jim Talent of Missouri $900,000 this year. He was one of the big supporters of the drug bill. Republican Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania was another. He, too, is a big beneficiary of the drug companies’ generosity. According to the Center for Responsive Politics he has been well rewarded for his efforts in addition to feeling good, knowing he’s done something for (a) seniors (b) the drug companies and (c) himself. In 2000 when he last ran for the U.S. Senate he was 15th among those receiving funds from drug companies. This year he’s number one and has received almost $500,000 in contributions from drug companies. His opponent, Bob Casey has not, however, been forgotten. He’s a Democrat and he’s gotten $11,850 so far this year.

In addition to wanting to express their gratitude to Republicans for helping preserve the attributes of democracy we all cherish, the drug companies do have a non-altruistic motive. It pertains to the so-called donut hole that seniors dislike. When the combined total that a senior and the senior’s insurance company have paid for drugs in a given year reaches a certain amount ($2,250 in 2005), the senior enters the donut-hole and must pay the full cost of drugs until a certain total ($3,600 in 2005) has been spent by the senior.

Nancy Pelosi, who would be speaker of the House if the Democrats win in November, says the first thing Democrats will do if they take control is launch an attack on the free enterprise system loved by Republicans. That’s not how she puts it. She says Democrats will change the rules to enable the government to negotiate drug prices paid for by Medicare. She says the resultant savings would be so great that there would be no need for the donut hole. The losers would be the drug companies. The winners would be the seniors. That is another reason drug companies give most of their support to Republicans. It is a reason seniors should vote for for someone else.

CHRISTOPHER BRAUCHLI is a lawyer in Boulder, Colorado. He can be reached at: Brauchli.56@post.harvard.edu. Visit his website: http://hraos.com/

 

 

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
September 21, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Laquan McDonald is Being Tried for His Own Racist Murder
Brad Evans
What Does It Mean to Celebrate International Peace Day?
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Hurricane Florence and 9.7 Million Pigs
Nick Pemberton
With or Without Kavanaugh, The United States Is Anti-Choice
Andrew Levine
Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smear Campaign
Jim Kavanagh
“Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
Jonathan Cook
Palestine: The Testbed for Trump’s Plan to Tear up the Rules-Based International Order
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!
David Rosen
As the Capitalist World Turns: From Empire to Imperialism to Globalization?
Jonah Raskin
Green Capitalism Rears Its Head at Global Climate Action Summit
James Munson
On Climate, the Centrists are the Deplorables
Robert Hunziker
Is Paris 2015 Already Underwater?
Arshad Khan
Will Their Ever be Justice for Rohingya Muslims?
Jill Richardson
Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault
Dave Clennon
A Victory for Historical Accuracy and the Peace Movement: Not One Emmy for Ken Burns and “The Vietnam War”
W. T. Whitney
US Harasses Cuba Amid Mysterious Circumstances
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
Things That Make Sports Fans Uncomfortable
George Capaccio
Iran: “Snapping Back” Sanctions and the Threat of War
Kenneth Surin
Brexit is Coming, But Which Will It Be?
Louis Proyect
Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9”: Entertaining Film, Crappy Politics
Ramzy Baroud
Why Israel Demolishes: Khan Al-Ahmar as Representation of Greater Genocide
Ben Dangl
The Zapatistas’ Dignified Rage: Revolutionary Theories and Anticapitalist Dreams of Subcommandante Marcos
Ron Jacobs
Faith, Madness, or Death
Bill Glahn
Crime Comes Knocking
Terry Heaton
Pat Robertson’s Hurricane “Miracle”
Dave Lindorff
In Montgomery County PA, It’s Often a Jury of White People
Louis Yako
From Citizens to Customers: the Corporate Customer Service Culture in America 
William Boardman
The Shame of Dianne Feinstein, the Courage of Christine Blasey Ford 
Ernie Niemi
Logging and Climate Change: Oregon is Appalachia and Timber is Our Coal
Jessicah Pierre
Nike Says “Believe in Something,” But Can It Sacrifice Something, Too?
Paul Fitzgerald - Elizabeth Gould
Weaponized Dreams? The Curious Case of Robert Moss
Olivia Alperstein
An Environmental 9/11: the EPA’s Gutting of Methane Regulations
Ted Rall
Why Christine Ford vs. Brett Kavanaugh is a Train Wreck You Can’t Look Away From
Lauren Regan
The Day the Valves Turned: Defending the Pipeline Protesters
Ralph Nader
Questions, Questions Where are the Answers?
Binoy Kampmark
Deplatforming Germaine Greer
Raouf Halaby
It Should Not Be A He Said She Said Verdict
Robert Koehler
The Accusation That Wouldn’t Go Away
Jim Hightower
Amazon is Making Workers Tweet About How Great It is to Work There
Robby Sherwin
Rabbi, Rabbi, Where For Art Thou Rabbi?
Vern Loomis
Has Something Evil This Way Come?
Steve Baggarly
Disarm Trident Walk Ends in Georgia
Graham Peebles
Priorities of the Time: Peace
Michael Doliner
The Department of Demonization
David Yearsley
Bollocks to Brexit: the Plumber Sings
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail