Drug lobby adds $100M to war chest ahead of pricing battle

By:  Sarah Karlin and Anna Palmer

The pharmaceutical lobby is requiring member companies to fork over an additional $100 million per year as the industry gears up for a bruising post-election battle over drug prices, POLITICO has learned.

PhRMA's decision to hike membership dues 50 percent will increase the trade group's considerable coffers to more than $300 million per year — a financial advantage it hasn’t enjoyed since 2009, when drug makers came out largely unscathed in Obamacare negotiations. PhRMA is bolstering its war chest as it gears up to spend hundreds of millions on ads pushing back against politicians from both parties who have attacked its members over pricing.

Recent high-profile price increases of life-saving treatments, including EpiPens, have crystallized voter anger over drug costs. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have called for allowing the government to negotiate drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries and allowing drug importation from other countries. Recent polling shows a majority of Republican and Democratic voters favor both ideas.

PhRMA’s board voted to raise dues at a meeting this summer, POLITICO reported in August, but it wasn’t clear by how much at the time. To help build its war chest, the board also voted to add new members, including Teva, the world’s largest generic drug manufacturer.

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