The pharma industry has put its weight behind Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, reversing a longstanding fundraising trend that has favored the GOP.
Republican candidates have received 64% of pharma industry contributions since 1990, according to the Center for Responsive Politics’ Open Secrets. But the industry is shifting its support to Democrats in 2020. So far, donors with links to drug companies have donated $2.5 million to the Biden campaign — significantly more than the $647,000 given to Trump’s reelection campaign.
The pharma industry places its bets
The funding gulf could reflect industry projections that Biden will win the presidential election, according to Steven Billet, a George Washington University professor quoted in Kaiser Health News. If Biden wins the election, drug companies will likely use their donation history as leverage if the new president seeks to negotiate lower drug costs, Billet said.
While Trump has recently extolled the virtues of pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer (NYSE:PFE), Moderna (NSDQ:MRNA), Regeneron (NSDQ:REGN) and Gilead Sciences (NSDQ:GILD), the president formerly angered the industry with executive orders targeting drug pricing.
Trump’s pharmaceutical-focused executive orders are likely part of the reason for his weak funding numbers from the industry. Speaking of those orders, “the White House has doubled down on a reckless attack on the very companies working around the clock to beat COVID-19,” PhRMA CEO Stephen Ubl said in a statement.
Similar goals, different strategies
Both Biden and Trump have promised to slash drug prices but have dramatically different strategies for accomplishing that objective. Trump, who campaigned in 2016 on the promise of lower drug costs, favors accelerating approvals for generic drugs while also pressuring pharmaceutical companies to lower Medicare pricing. Biden, conversely, has been calling for allowing Medicare to negotiate discounted drug prices.
Since the coronavirus pandemic started, Trump has also been pushing to reshore pharmaceutical manufacturing to the U.S. Similarly, Biden also plans to rebuild pharmaceutical and medical device supply chains.
Pharma isn’t the only medical-related industry donating more money to Biden. More medical device industry employees are also opening their wallets to the Democratic candidates’ campaign.