RICHMOND, Va. – Virginians are paying record amounts for life-saving medicine, while Virginia Republicans rake in record cash from big pharmaceutical companies that are jacking up prices on Virginia families.
On Monday, Speaker Todd Gilbert accepted $50,000 from the Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) into his Republican Commonwealth Leadership PAC. This contribution follows major donations the big pharmaceutical lobbying group made to Governor Glenn Youngkin and Senator Siobhan Dunnvant (R-Henrico), both of whom actively opposed establishing a Prescription Drug Affordability Board (PDAB) during this year’s legislative session. These donations are among the nearly $220,000 they have given to Republicans throughout the 2023 campaign cycle.
Gilbert leads the caucus that killed the Prescription Drug Affordability Board (PDAB), even after the bill passed out of the Senate with strong bipartisan support. The PDAB would set upper-price limits on certain high-cost medicines. The Republican Commonwealth Leadership PAC has donated nearly $4,000,000 to Republican candidates and the Republican Party of Virginia during the 2023 campaign cycle.
“House Republicans have made it crystal clear: They stand with big pharmaceutical corporations over Virginians struggling to pay for the medication they need,” said Freedom Virginia Executive Director Rhena Hicks. “As a type one Diabetic, I take multiple medications to stay alive every day that could cost tens of thousands of dollars annually without insurance. Republicans claim they care about making life more affordable for families while taking buckets of cash from pharmaceutical companies pricing people out of life-saving medication.”
Manufacturers of the most cost-burdensome drugs in Virginia, such as Eli Lilly, are expected to take in tens of billions in revenue and have donated nearly $100,000 to Gilbert. Eli Lilly’s Trulicity, which is used to treat Type 2 Diabetes, is Virginia’s 3rd most burdensome drug, in terms of its impact on the state employee health plan’s costs.
In the 2023 cycle, Pfizer, which recently announced it would charge $1,400 for a five-day course of the Covid drug Paxlovid, has given $5,000 to Gilbert, $3,500 to the House Republican Campaign Committee, and $1,000 to Dunnavant, who voted against the Prescription Drug Affordability bill in the Senate.
A recent poll from AARP showed three-quarters of Virginia voters support creating a Prescription Drug Affordability Board, with 60 percent of voters reporting they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports such a proposal.