Drug companies donated millions to California lawmakers before vaccine debate

vaccine

(SacBee.com) A subplot to the vociferous debate over the student vaccination bill moving through California’s Capitol is opponents’ allegations that the effort reflects the influence of the pharmaceutical industry.

Critics of Senate Bill 277, which would eliminate the personal belief and religious exemptions for schoolchildren, accuse the measure’s supporters in the Legislature of doing the bidding of donors who make vaccines and other pharmaceuticals.

The bill’s proponents and drug companies dismiss the charge. The companies’ lobbyist filings for the first quarter of this year as well as legislative committee reports show no connection between the pharmaceutical industry and SB 277.

“We aren’t pushing this bill behind the scenes,” said Priscilla VanderVeer, the senior director for communications for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, known as PhRMA, the industry’s main trade group. The group has no taken no position on SB 277, although the group has long backed vaccinations as sound public health policy, she said.

Other legislation has a more direct bearing on the industry, and it is an active political player. Pharmaceutical companies and their trade groups gave more than $2 million to current members of the Legislature in 2013-2014, about 2 percent of the total raised, records show. Nine of the top 20 recipients are either legislative leaders or serve on either the Assembly or Senate health committees. Receiving more than $95,000, the top recipient of industry campaign cash is Sen. Richard Pan, a Sacramento Democrat and doctor who is carrying the vaccine bill.

In addition, the industry donated more than $500,000 to outside campaign spending groups that helped elect some current members last year.

Leading pharmaceutical companies also spent nearly $3 million more during the 2013-2014 legislative session lobbying the Legislature, the governor, the state pharmacists’ board and other agencies, according to state filings.

Jim Miller: (916) 326-5521, @jimmiller2

TOP DRUG MAKER DONORS
State records show that pharmaceutical companies and trade groups donated more than $2 million to current lawmakers in 2013-2014.

Pharmaceutical company or group

Campaign donations to current state legislators

Direct lobbying payments

Johnson & Johnson Inc.

$86,300

$583,926

GlaxoSmithKline

$32,250

$561,479

Eli Lilly & Company

$193,100

$280,863

Gilead Sciences Inc.

$77,600

$196,732

Biocom PAC

$30,000

$223,224

Sanofi

$48,000

$172,500

Abbott Laboratories

$173,600

$42,500

Astellas Pharma US Inc.

$47,900

$161,440

AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LLP

$157,300

$49,583

Merck & Co. Inc.

$91,600

$108,204

California Pharmacists Association

$53,389

$134,176

Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers Assn.

$137,950

$45,455

Eisai Inc.

$92,000

$88,000

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company

$32,300

$144,101

Pfizer

$150,600

$21,250

AbbVie

$138,425

$25,530

Amgen

$105,600

$45,455

Allergan USA Inc.

$120,100

$22,757

Takeda Pharmaceuticals USA Inc.

$40,000

$83,348

Pharmacy Professionals of California

$32,000

$0

TOP DRUG MAKER RECIPIENTS
Lawmaker

Party/District

Amount

Sen. Richard Pan*

D-Sacramento

$95,150

Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins

D-San Diego

$90,250

Sen. Ed Hernandez*

D-Azusa

$67,750

Sen. Holly Mitchell*

D-Los Angeles

$60,107

Assemblyman Brian Maienschein*

R-San Diego

$59,879

Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León

D-Los Angeles

$56,648

Sen. Isadore Hall

D-Compton

$52,400

Sen. Jerry Hill

D-San Mateo

$50,209

Assemblyman Henry Perea

D-Fresno

$49,550

Assemblywoman Shirley Weber

D-San Diego

$47,000

Assemblyman Mike Gatto

D-Los Angeles

$46,491

Assemblywoman Susan A. Bonilla*

D-Concord

$45,600

Sen. Andy Vidak

R-Hanford

$42,800

Assemblyman Tom Daly

D-Anaheim

$40,300

Assemblyman Kevin Mullin

D-South San Francisco

$38,400

Assemblyman Adam Gray

D-Merced

$37,000

Assemblyman Rob Bonta*

D-Alameda

$36,750

Assemblyman Anthony Rendon

D-Lakewood

$36,200

Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez*

D-Los Angeles

$33,850

Assemblyman Richard Gordon

D-Menlo Park

$33,100

*Member of the Assembly or Senate health committees

Source: Bee analysis of secretary of state campaign finance and lobbying reports

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article24913978.html#storylink=cpy

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