Big Pharma Lobbying for Opioids Spends 8 Times as Much as NRA

Big Pharma Lobbying for Opioids Spends 8 Times as Much as NRA
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Opponents of the Second Amendment often like to bray about the National Rifle Associations almost mythical lobbying power, but this story from Business Insider shows that there are industries exerting far more lobbying power over the country, namely the big pharmaceutical corporations that make opioid painkillers.

The story says a new report from the Associated Press claims the makers of opioid painkillers, which are at the center of a dangerous overdose and addiction crisis across the country, spent eight times more on lobbying and campaign contributions than the entire US gun lobby.

The report focused on a period from 2006 to 2015 when deaths from opioid drugs began to skyrocket.

Here are some details from the story, and the numbers are pretty staggering:

  • Opioid drugmakers including Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, spent more than $880 million, or roughly $98 million a year, on lobbying and campaign contributions that included efforts to support the drugs.

  • Drugmakers and allied advocacy groups employed a yearly average of 1,350 lobbyists in legislative centers.

  • In 2015 alone, 227 million opioid prescriptions were given out in the U.S., or "enough to hand a bottle of pills to nine out of every 10 American adults."

  • Purdue Pharma made $2.4 billion from opioid sales last year alone.

“Worse still, the same drug companies now stand to make more money off of new iterations of the pills which they're marketing as safer and tougher to abuse but which may not actually work to stem the tide of overdose deaths, the report states.”

The story says the opioid epidemic has claimed more than 165,000 American lives. In 2013, more Americans died from overdosing on opioid painkillers than from heroin or cocaine combined, which makes those "alarming" gun statistics and accusations leveled at the NRA seem paltry by comparison.