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2002-06-20

Drug Firms Pay $250,000 to Sit at a Gop Fundraiser–Just Two Days After Republicans Unveil An Industry-Backed Prescription Drug Plan

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Pharmaceutical companies paid as much as $250,000 for a place near the president’s table at a multi-million dollar GOP fundraiser last night. This just two days after Republicans unveiled a prescription drug plan the industry is backing.

Republican officials declined to disclose the donors to the Washington event hosted by George Bush. But people familiar with the dinner said drug companies are among the biggest contributors, with GlaxoSmithKline, PhRMA, and Pfizer all paying the big-ticket price. The party should have netted as much as $30 million from the event. The proceeds will be split between Republicans’ House and Senate campaign committees.

Drug company executives flocked to last night’s fundraiser just as Congress is taking up legislation to create a prescription drug benefit for the elderly. Pharmaceuticals have been lobbying aggressively to make sure the plan does not significantly lower the cost of prescription drugs. And so far Republicans have not disappointed the industry. Earlier this week, GOP lawmakers proposed a bill that would cover only a fraction of a senior’s first $4,000 in drug costs. Critics say the plan leaves seniors dependent on private insurers and stuck with huge out-of-pocket costs.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee debated the Republican plan yesterday, but broke early so GOP lawmakers could attend the gala. They are expected to resume discussion today.

Guest:

  • Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont)

Related link:

Tape:

  • Jeffrey Trewitt, Spokesperson, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association.

Music:

  • Tell It All–Ashford and Simpson.

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