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Dec-16-2009 13:05printcomments

Dems Voting No on Prescription Drug Imports Receive 70% More Pharma Money

In a bipartisan effort rarely seen in recent votes on health care reform, 30 Democrats sided with 17 Republicans and one Independent to kill the bill.

reality check ahead
Courtesy: srcomblog.files.wordpress.com

(BERKLEY, Calif.) - On Tuesday, December 15, the U.S. Senate voted against the importation of prescription drugs, 51-48. Offered by Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) as an amendment to the health care reform bill, the provision would pave the way for market access to cheaper prescription drugs, by relaxing restrictions on imports from Canada and other highly-developed countries.

In a bipartisan effort rarely seen in recent votes on health care reform, 30 Democrats sided with 17 Republicans and one Independent to kill the bill.

MAPLight.org found that Senate Democrats who voted to block imports, siding with drug companies, received an average of $73,729 each from drug companies over the past six years—70% more than Democrats who voted in favor of imports.

Among all Senators, those voting to block imports received an average of $85,812 each from drug companies, 66% more than those who voted in favor of imports.

All Democrats (and Independents)
Average to Yes votes (allow imports): $43,446
Average to No votes (block imports): $73,729

All Senators
Average to Yes votes (allow imports): $51,803
Average to No votes (block imports): $85,812

The pharmaceutical manufacturing industry is opposed to drug importation, claiming the risks of counterfeit medicines and sub-standard regulations could cause undue harm to consumers. Senator Dorgan and 12 co-sponsors argue in the text of this bill that "a prescription drug is neither safe nor effective to an individual who cannot afford it." Dorgan estimates that the bill would save American consumers $100 billion over ten years.

Previous MAPLight.org research has also shown alignment of pharma campaign money and votes in Congress. On a Medicare-related vote in September, Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee who voted in favor of pharma interests received 4.2 times more campaign money from pharma interests than Dems who voted against pharma interests. And in May 2007, the Senate voted to kill a similar effort to allow prescription drug imports. Senators who voted in favor of pharma interests received three times more campaign money from pharma interests—$100,000 each over six years—than Senators who voted against them.

Note: Averages for yesterday's vote exclude Senator Byrd, who did not vote, and recently elected or appointed Senators Roland Burris, Paul Kirk, Herbert Kohl, and George LeMieux, for whom campaign finance records are not yet available.

Methodology: Campaign contributions data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics' OpenSecrets Open Data, and includes PAC and individual contributions from pharmaceutical manufacturing interests. Date range of contributions: January 1, 2003 - August 12, 2009. Contributions to the presidential campaigns of Senators are not included.

MAPLight.org’s previous coverage of health care reform includes Lieberman Among Top Recipients of Health Insurance Money; Opposes Medicare Expansion (December 15), Public Option Dies in Senate While Health Industry Money Flows (December 14), analyses of campaign contributions and votes on the public option (Sept. 30, Oct. 8) and votes benefiting pharma interests.

MAPLight.org is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization based in Berkeley, California. Its mission is to illuminate the connection between Money and Politics (MAP) using our groundbreaking database of campaign contributions and legislative votes. MAPLight.org combines data from the Federal Election Commission, the Center for Responsive Politics, GovTrack.us, the National Institute on Money in State Politics (NIMSP), the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission and other sources to better inform Americans and local and national media about the role of special-interest money in our political system. To learn more, visit: MAPLight.org.

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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jimmy December 17, 2009 10:00 am (Pacific time)

Sickening... People. please remember this stuff come election time!

Henry Clay Ruark December 16, 2009 3:54 pm (Pacific time)

Fukker-something: Cannot get much more personal than costs of drugs on which one's life may depend...milions now spend millions/more than demanded if this wise action had been made law. Your naivete surpassed only by your arrogance and revealed misunderstanding of what public comment here should mean and be. The First Amendment, by legal action of Supremes, does assume both responsibility and accountability, despite false security of your very descriptive name. Whatever meds you take, we can only hope they won't work and will overwhelm you via its cost !!

Mike December 16, 2009 3:36 pm (Pacific time)

Go Ron Wyden!

ElectroPig Von Fökkengrüüven December 16, 2009 2:49 pm (Pacific time)

YOu can point ot the obvious until you're blue in the face...people will refuse to do anything until it lands on their own doorstep. I suppose we can still give them credit for consistency.

Daniel Johnson December 16, 2009 2:02 pm (Pacific time)

Money and politics. Rub people's faces in it until they get it.

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