Press Releases

As Rep. Kim Works to Lower Prescription Drug Prices, Shady Dark Money Group Launches Smear Campaign

Oct 07, 2021

Kim rejects corporate PAC money, has consistently voted to lower cost of prescription drugs and expand Medicare

Dark money group running false ads is using the broken campaign finance system to hide donors and avoid accountability

As Congress debates Democrats’ Build Back Better plan, one key provision of the bill has drawn the ire of Big Pharma: lowering the cost of prescription drugs.

The provision, which is based on the “Lower Drug Costs Now Act”, a bill Rep. Kim helped pass in 2019, would allow Medicare to negotiate annual prices for the 50 most expensive drugs on the market. The provision would also put a $3,000 cap on out-of-pocket prescription drugs for Medicare recipients, limit price increases to the inflation rate, and expand Medicare to include dental, vision, and hearing coverage.

But now, a dark money group by the name of “A Healthy Future LLC” is running false attack ads against Rep. Kim on Medicare. The obscure group is an LLC that has taken advantage of the broken campaign finance system in order to conceal their sources of funding and avoid accountability. The group does not have any identifying information on its website and was registered by a lawyer with an extensive history of representing shady dark money groups.

“Congressman Andy Kim went to Washington to fight the corrupt system that’s hurting New Jersey families by preventing them from affording life saving medication. His efforts to stop Big Pharma from gouging his constituents with absurd prescription drug prices has now made him the target of a dark money-backed smear campaign full of lies and deception,” said End Citizens United President Tiffany Muller. “Big Pharma is likely behind the dark money group and they want to maintain the status quo to protect their profits, and because Congressman Kim doesn’t take corporate PAC money, they know they can’t buy his vote. These attack ads and the ability to hide their sources of funding is a shining example of why Congressman Kim’s advocacy on both limiting the influence of money in politics and making prescription drugs more affordable is so critical. The only way we’re going to lower prescription drug prices is if we break the link between Big Pharma and their ability to buy elections and politicians’ votes.”

The Truth About Rep. Kim’s Record:
Congressman Andy Kim has been a champion of protecting and expanding Medicare and lowering the costs of prescription drugs since he’s been in office — and he has the record to prove it. In 2019, he led the charge in the U.S. House to pass the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act. He has also introduced and supported a number of bills to make it easier for New Jersey families to access life-saving drugs by lowering costs.

Rep. Kim has been an outspoken leader in Congress on ending dark money, stopping special interests from dictating policy outcomes, and making the connection between inaction on issues important to the American people and the broken campaign finance system. As a candidate during the 2018 election cycle, Rep. Kim made the decision to refuse corporate PAC money to prove to New Jersey families that he will not be beholden to corporate special interests like Big Pharma. He cosponsored and voted twice to pass the For the People Act (H.R. 1), a once-in-a-generation anti-corruption bill that would root out corruption, stop billionaires and corporate special interests from buying our elections, and shine a light on dark money.

How New Jersey Families Are Impacted by Exorbitant Drug Prices (AARP Stats):
According to AARP, the average annual cost of prescription drugs increased 26.3% between 2015 and 2019, while the annual income for New Jersey residents only increased 21.0%.

In New Jersey:

  • 685,586 residents are diagnosed with cancer. Between 2015-2020, Revlimid, a name brand drug that treats several forms of cancer increased from $185,574 per year to $267,583 per year.

  • 622,414 residents have diabetes. Between 2015-2020, Victoza, a name brand drug that treats diabetes increased from $7,936 per year to $11,300 per year

  • 601,891 residents have asthma or COPD. Between 2015-2020, Spiriva Handihaler, a name brand drug that treats asthma and COPD, increased from $3,886 per year to $5,289 per year.

Big Pharma’s Big Spending:

  • The pharmaceutical industry has already spent more than $15 million to remove the provision in Build Back Better aimed at lowering drug costs.

  • From 1998-2017, the drug industry spent $3.7 billion on lobbying, which is $1 billion more than any other industry.

  • In 2018, the pharmaceutical industry hired over 1,470 lobbyists, nearly three lobbyists for every single member of Congress.

  • As their lobbying efforts grew, Big Pharma continued to raise prescription drug prices, increasing the price of 3,400 prescription drugs in the first half of 2019 at an average rate of five times that of inflation.

  • In 2020 alone, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the drug industry’s top lobbying group, spent $25 million on lobbying.

  • The pharmaceutical industry spent $6.58 billion advertising their drugs in 2020, while at the same time claiming cost savings from negotiations would cost them money for research and development. However, much of the research and development driving the search for new medicines is paid for by American taxpayers through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other grants. Based on data from a survey of PhRMA’s own member companies, one out of every three dollars spent on drug research comes from American taxpayers.

  • According to a report from Axios, from 2016–2019, the 12 largest pharma companies spent more on stock buybacks than on research and development.