RICHMOND, Va. – Months after voting to kill legislation that would have lowered the cost of medicine for millions of Virginians, Republican Senator Siobhan Dunnavant on Monday reported another $3,000 in contributions from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and from Pfizer Inc to her re-election campaign. With this new filing, Senator Dunnavant has taken a cumulative total of $56,510 from the industry, including from PhRMA, Pfizer, Gilead, Vertex, and Lilly.
Earlier this year, Senator Dunnavant voted against legislation (SB 957) that would have created a Prescription Drug Affordability Board to lower the prices of high-cost medicines, even as the Senate passed the bill by a strong bipartisan vote of 26-13. Eighty-two percent of Virginians support the concept of such a Board, which consists of an independent panel of experts empowered to cap the cost of certain high-cost prescription drugs.
Pharmaceutical companies boasted multi-billion dollar revenues in the second quarter of 2023. Meanwhile, one in four Virginians report not taking their medicine as prescribed simply because they cannot afford to. Manufacturers of the most cost-burdensome drugs in Virginia, such as Eli Lilly, are expected to take in tens of billions in profits and have donated thousands to Dunnavant. Eli Lilly’s Trulicity, which is used to treat Type 2 Diabetes, is Virginia’s 3rd most burdensome drug, in terms of cost to the state employee health plan.
“No surprise in these new reports: Senator Dunnavant is bought and paid for by Big Pharma, which is why she voted against a Prescription Drug Affordability Board,” said Freedom Virginia Executive Director Rhena Hicks. “Meanwhile, people are choosing between their prescriptions and their groceries. We are three weeks out from an election, and voters deserve to know that Siobhan Dunnavant’s Pharma-funded campaign is keeping their medicine expensive.”
The Richmond Times-Dispatch last week noted that “the topic [of a Prescription Drug Affordability Board] has emerged in a few General Assembly campaigns this year.
Gov. Glenn Youngkin in September reported a $60,000 contribution from Big Pharma into his Spirit of Virginia PAC, which contributed $727,000 to Dunnavant’s campaign that same month.