Big Pharma is picking up major political ideas from Sen. Tim Scott

Sen. said. Tim Scott, a rising star on the Republican Party with great popularity in his home state of South Carolina, is raising money for the drug industry before facing voters this fall.

Scott is the highest earner of pharmaceutical advertising funding in Congress in the second half of 2021, earning $ 99,000, KHN’s Pharma Cash to Congress database shows, standing as a new industry favorite. While Scott has had a long -standing hospitality since his arrival in Congress in 2011, the latest number is two more than his highest figure.

Why Tim Scott? The South Carolina junior senator was a highly regarded figure during his political career. And this is a critical time for the American medical industry when caring for its partners is critical.

The conference is under strong demand to keep the high prices of drugs in the US, which is often the case in other countries. About 1 in 4 parents report having difficulty accessing their medication, according to the KFF poll. In addition, 83% of Americans support Medicare’s idea to negotiate with the drug industry to lower costs for its beneficiaries and those with personal insurance – that’s 95% of Democrats, 82% of independents, and 71% of Republicans.

The industry needs people like Scott, who has issued several health -related bills in recent years and maintains medical industry standards, at its corner. He opposes the proposals included in the law which was supported by a majority of Democrats in the congress to allow Medicare to negotiate costs. In 2019, when the Senate Finance Committee considered a drug pricing bill introduced by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Scott voted to oppose a move to change the law to allow Medicare drug pricing negotiations. (Scott is not himself but has registered his opposition by voting.)

In September, as a senior Republican on the Senate Special Committee, he released a report arguing that HR 3, a major move from House Democrats to lower prices, would result in “new new ”and“ bankrupt businesses, ”appealing to the allegations. made by pharmaceutical companies.

“Democrats expect the federal government to take care of deciding the price of drugs, rather than a competitive free market backed by agencies that are pushing for innovation,” the report said. . The bill would allow the federal government to negotiate prices for certain over -the -counter drugs and penalize drug companies that do not mix, among other things.

Scott has been a member of the Senate Finance Committee since 2015, a function that gives him significant control over the laws surrounding the district and is a popular perch for fundraising. In total, 27 pharmaceutical and biotech companies or their strongest lobbying groups in Washington gave their press releases in the latter half of last year. Amgen, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Merck & Co., AstraZeneca, BioMarin Pharmaceutical, and Genentech are its major suppliers, each offering between $ 5,000 and $ 10,500.

He is a member of the Senate Health, Education, Employment, and Pensions Committee, which this year is set to address a critical issue facing pharmaceutical companies: re -approving user fees paid by the Service to the FDA to help speed up drug evaluation. and the consent process. The law must be re -approved by the Legislature every five years.

“I didn’t know until you told me,” Scott said when interviewed by a KHN broadcaster in the Capitol and asked to speak to his constituents as a members of Congress received the most revenue from pharmaceutical PACs in the past two quarters. o 2021.

Stephen Billet, an expert on political action committees and an advisor at the Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University, pointed out that there is more to it than just tackling the medical crisis. help her raise money. Many of Scott’s positions are in line with those of his Republican colleagues in the congress who are avoiding government involvement in keeping prices. But studies could show the industry’s bet that Scott will have a political position in the future.

He was a big fundraiser. Federal Election Commission records show Scott raised $ 38 million – the most GOP senators re -elected in 2022 and the second -highest among senators on both sides – and earned that’s $ 21.5 million in its advertising account by the end of 2021, growing. thoughts about the upcoming presidential run. “America, A Redemption Story,” Scott’s memoirs, is set to be released in August through Christian publisher Thomas Nelson.

Billet said medical PACs will be at the start of an advertising cycle and keep a close eye on upcoming races and where their money is coming from and then think about what they want. to help.

“So they say, Tim Scott is up, he’s a very good man, he’s a very good man,” Billet said. “It’s a good idea to go ahead and put some money in his bag.”

The medical industry has a long tradition of giving gifts to members to develop a positive attitude, the benefits of which will come many years later.

The amount of money from drug companies is not the same as other Republican senators for re -election at the same time, KHN said in a Federal Election Commission data. For example, Sen. Michael Crapo (R-Idaho), the highest-ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, received $ 68,300. A member of the fundraiser Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) Took in $ 48,000. The three seats are expected to be safe for Republicans in November.

Scott has received funding from pharmaceutical manufacturers each year since he came to the conference as a member of the House in 2011, earning $ 596,000 by the end of the year. last year, according to the KHN report of FEC data. Scott entered the Senate in 2013 after the time-Gov. Nikki Haley chose him to replace GOP senator Jim DeMint, who left Congress to lead the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank. But this is his flag year; previously, the most it earned was $ 54,000 in the second half of 2019.

The following year, Scott co -founded the congressional Personalized Medicine Caucus along with several other attorneys, including pharma partner darling Sen. Kyrsten Style (D-Ariz.). Personal medicine – so -called direct medicine – promises to use genetics and other techniques to develop personalized medicine for patients, often at a high cost.

“We will create efforts to nurture scientific advances that can reverse the genetic and molecular origins of common and chronic diseases, bringing new hope to American patients and patients. lasting benefits to our health care system, ”Scott said at the time.

Scott’s press secretary, Caroline Anderegg, said the senator has long believed in sickle cell disease, which is the most common disease transmitted in the U.S. and does not punish people. black. The disease, which affects about 100,000 Americans, is the beneficiary of the development of gene -based therapies, a form of direct therapy, he said.

The formation of the caucus was facilitated by the Personalized Medicine Coalition, a medical association whose members have access to the medications that Scott provides – AbbVie, AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly, Genentech, Johnson & Johnson, and Merck, to name a few. The company estimates that personalized prescription drugs account for more than a quarter of new drugs approved by the FDA since 2015, reflecting the broad role of the pharmaceutical industry in the field.

Since 2019, Scott has introduced 17 health -related bills or decisions on everything from food allergens and sickle cell disease to health differences in between nations and peoples. Last year, he supported a bill to create tax breaks for pharmaceutical companies and pharmaceutical companies to re -manufacture their products in the U.S. The nature of the law is consistent with suggestions from the Association for Accessible Medicines, which maintains standard medicine associations.

In all, from June to December, members of Congress received $ 3.5 million in their advertising packages from pharmaceutical companies and their trade unions, according to the KHN review of industry grants.

“There’s a kind of cycle of giving and so the smaller the year, 2021, the smaller the money than 2022, because it’s an election year,” said Paul Jorgensen, is a professor at the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley. who teaches advertising finance. “But a lot of money has been put into building this cycle because of all the work that has been put into the Building and the Build Back Better project, so in some ways your count like a mirror to what you think. “

Highest recipients of pharmaceutical industry funding in the second half of 2021 will include Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), Who was second behind Scott in the awards, earned $ 97,300. McMorris Rodgers is the top Republican on the House Energy & Commerce Committee, which has a lot of power over pharmaceutical issues, and could become the head of the energy board if Republicans return a majority to the House in November. as expected. By the end of 2021, he has received most of the money from a lawyer’s office.

The medical PACs know what stands in the way of the committee’s leadership responsibilities, Billet said: “They know 100% who is coming on the line, McMorris Rodgers is working to make sure easy easy. “

The film grossed its third -highest hit – $ 74,800 although it wasn’t re -released until 2024. It was a huge hit in the first half of 2021, when it grossed $ 8,000. KHN reported in 2020 on Cinema’s relations with the pharmaceutical industry.

Data writer Elizabeth Lucas provided this presentation.

KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a government news agency that publishes in -depth news coverage on health issues. KHN is one of three major projects at KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is a non -profit organization that provides information on health issues in the nation.

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