Magazine article Drug Topics

Money Talks and Perhaps Is Heard on Capitol Hill

Magazine article Drug Topics

Money Talks and Perhaps Is Heard on Capitol Hill

Article excerpt

Priming the pump to influence health-care reform legislation and the 1994 elections, pharmacy-connected political action committees contributed nearly $170,000 to Congressional candidates last year. The biggest donors were NARD and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, which have joined forces as the Community Retail Health Care Reform Coalition and are strong backers of President Clinton's Health Security Act.

NARD, with its historic Main Street roots now bolstered by an Arkansas White House connection, has long been regarded as a top-rung lobbying force on Capitol Hill. In 1993, it gave $66,500 to 54 Democrats and $6,500 to seven Republicans, according to campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. That total of $73,000 put it ahead of all but two of the biggest brand-name companies and the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association, which are opposing the coalition in a number of health-care reform areas, including anti-price discrimination requirements and Medicare rebates. PMA and 22 of its largest members sent nearly $636,000 to candidates last year, according to a Drug Topics check of FEC records.

NARD's coalition partner, NACDS, contributed $35,120 to 32 Congressional Democrats and $15,000 to 12 Republicans, for a total of $50,120. Last year, NACDS and NARD formed the coalition, which combined the big-business backing and deep pockets of NACDS, headed by the savvy media relations pro Ronald L. Ziegler, former press secretary for President Richard Nixon, and the small-business champion, NARD, whose executive v. …

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