Magazine article Drug Topics

PAC Attack

Magazine article Drug Topics

PAC Attack

Article excerpt

Pharmacy's political action committees contributed more than $400,000 to Congressional candidates last year, with NARD again heading the pack. The independent pharmacy owners group gave $131,750 to 90 Democrats and $16,000 to 10 Republicans, for a total of $147,750. The American Pharmaceutical Association and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores also spent more than $100,000 each trying to influence the 1994 elections for Congress.

But while overall spending by pharmacy association PACs continues to climb, it is no match for the financial muscle of the pharmaceutical industry. A check of campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission by 23 brand-name companies and their trade association found that they gave more than $2.6 million.

Rep. Bill Brewster (D, Okla.), the only R.Ph. in Congress, received the most money from pharmacy PACs. (The limit is $5,000 for the primary and $5,000 for the general election. PACs raise their money through members' voluntary contributions.) APhA gave $10,000; NACDS, $3,500; American Society of Consultant Pharmacists, $500; and ASHP, $500. Other pharmacy favorites were Sen. Kent Conrad (D, N.D.), who got $14,000, and Rep. Richard Gephardt (D, Mo.), who garnered $12,500.

At least he still has a job. Sen. James Sasser (D, Tenn.) rounded up $12,000 from pharmacy PACs for his reelection bid. He also expected to become Senate majority leader. But he lost his seat, and his party lost control of the Senate. Here are some highlights from selected PAC reports filed with the FEC:

Pharmacy

* APhA, after sharply increasing its PAC donations over successive election cycles, reduced them about 3% from the 1992 peak. Some $97,450 went to 70 Democratic candidates and $29,150 to 27 Republicans. Rep. Newt Gingrich (R, Ca.) received $1,000--his only contribution from a pharmacy PAC. The new Senate majority whip, Trent Lott (R, Miss.), got $2,000, as did Rep. Thomas Bliley (R, Va.), new chairman of the House Commerce Committee. On the other side, defeated candidates Sen. Harris Wofford (D, Pa.) got $4,000; Rep. Bob Carr (D, Mich.) received $4,000 for a losing Senate bid; and Philip Schiliro, an aide to Rep. Henry Waxman (D, Calif.), got $5,000 in his second unsuccessful try for a New York House seat.

* ASHP gave four candidates a total of $2,500, the most since the PAC was founded in 1990. Rep. Ron Wyden (D, Ore.) received $1,000, and the other three $500 each.

* ASCP contributions were increased by about 40% over 1992, setting a record for spending. …

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