The recent Senate squabbling over whether cheaper imports from Canada and elsewhere should be allowed into the US was full of intrigue. Why, for instance, did President Barack Obama flip-flop on his oft-stated campaign remarks that imports should be allowed? Was it the $80 million deal that PhRMA cut on discounts that would help pay for health care reform legislation?
Meanwhile, some questioned the sudden appearance of a letter from FDA commish Margaret Hamburg, who worried aloud that her agency couldn't guarantee the safety of meds coming into the country. Byron Dorgan, the North Dakota Democrat who fought for the importation amendment, tells The Wall Street Journal that he thinks the White House drafted her letter. Ironically, more active pharmaceutical ingredients are coming from China, which is home to scandal after scandal (think Heparin) and where the FDA has only two inspectors (background).
Senators from states where drugmakers are headquartered reiterated Hamburg's argument. For those who are wondering how each senator voted, the contributions they receive from pharma and what that might mean, here is a handy breakdown, courtesy of MapLight.org, which found that, among all Senators, those voting to block imports received an average of $85,812 each from drugmakers, which is 69 percent more than those who voted in favor of imports.
All Democrats (and Independents) Average to Yes votes (allow imports): $41,894 Average to No votes (block imports): $73,729
All Senators Average to Yes votes (allow imports): $50,767 Average to No votes (block imports): $85,812
Campaign Contributions to Senators from Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Interests, January 1, 2003 - August 12, 2009
Senator Party State Amount from pharma interests Vote on allowing imports:
Akaka, Daniel - Dem - HI - $4,000 - No Alexander, Lamar Rep - TN $108,950 - Yes Barrasso, John -Re- WY - $55,500 - No Baucus, Max - Dem MT - $261,020 - No Bayh, Evan - Dem - IN - $144,072 - No Begich, Mark - Dem -AK -$7,500 - Yes Bennet, Michael - Dem - CO - $10,750 - Yes Bennett, Robert -Rep - UT - $124,000 - No Bingaman, Jeff -Dem - NM - $48,500 - Yes Bond, Christopher - Rep - MO - $99,003 - Yes Boxer, Barbara - Dem - CA - $35,900 - Yes Brown, Sherrod - D - OH $17,300 Yes Brownback, Samuel - Rep - KS - $28,250 - No Bunning, Jim - Rep - KY - $64,250 - No Burr, Richard - Rep - NC - $301,898 - No Burris, Roland - Dem - IL - $0 - No Byrd, Robert - Dem - WV - $32,100 - Not voting Cantwell, Maria - Dem - WA - $22,400 - No Cardin, Benjamin - Dem- MD - $40,850 - No Carper, Thomas -Dem - DE - $135,700 - No Casey, Robert - D - PA - $34,750 - No Chambliss, Saxby -Rep - GA - $83,949 - No Coburn, Thomas - R - OK - $44,051 - Yes Cochran, Thad -R - MS - $69,000 - No Collins, Susan -R - ME - $70,500 - Yes Conrad, Kent D - ND - $83,000 - Yes Corker, Bob - R - TN - $65,200 - Yes Cornyn, John -R - TX - $119,700 - Yes Crapo, Michael - R - ID - $64,580 - Yes DeMint, Jim - R - SC - $40,000 - Yes Dodd, Christopher - D - CT - $174,525 - No Dorgan, Byron - D - ND - $12,500 - Yes Durbin, Richard - D - IL - $28,600 - No Ensign, John - R - NV - $89,950 - No Enzi, Michael - R - WY - $146,500 - No Feingold, Russell - D - WI - $6,200 - Yes Feinstein, Dianne - D - CA - $39,500 - Yes Franken, Al - D - MN - $2,500 - Yes Gillibrand, Kirsten - D - NY - $44,400 - No Graham, Lindsey - R - SC - $55,250 - Yes Grassley, Charles - R -IA - $103,700 - Yes Gregg, Judd - R - NH - $122,500 - No Hagan, Kay - D - NC - $4,650 - No Harkin, Thomas - D - IA - $81,800 - Yes Hatch, Orrin - R - UT - $262,950 - No Hutchison, Kay - R - TX - $29,250 - Yes Inhofe, James - R - OK - $20,250 - No Inouye, Daniel - D - HI - $200 - No Isakson, John - R - GA - $126,599 - No Johanns, Mike - R - NE - $43,100 -Yes Johnson, Tim D SD ($1,500) Yes Kaufman, Edward D DE $1,500 No Kerry, John D MA $21,170 No Kirk, Paul D MA $0 No Klobuchar, Amy D MN $2,290 Yes Kohl, Herbert D WI $0 Yes Kyl, Jon R AZ $117,350 No Landrieu, Mary D LA $89,550 No Lautenberg, Frank D NJ $97,550 No Leahy, Patrick D VT $46,600 Yes LeMieux, George R FL $0 Yes Levin, Carl D MI $1,000 No Lieberman, Joseph I CT $199,540 No Lincoln, Blanche D AR $100,750 Yes Lugar, Richard R IN $51,850 No McCain, John R AZ $7,000 Yes McCaskill, Claire D MO $6,050 Yes McConnell, Mitch R KY $225,900 Yes Menéndez, Robert D NJ $196,452 No Merkley, Jeff D OR $18,500 Yes Mikulski, Barbara D MD $70,995 No Murkowski, Lisa R AK $63,050 Yes Murray, Patty D WA $144,400 No Nelson, Ben D NE $138,098 Yes Nelson, Bill D FL $38,600 Yes Pryor, Mark D AR $31,000 Yes Reed, John D RI $34,100 No Reid, Harry D NV $74,800 No Risch, James R ID $22,100 Yes Roberts, Pat R KS $80,650 No Rockefeller, John D WV $44,000 No Sanders, Bernard I VT $420 Yes Schumer, Charles D NY $54,900 No Sessions, Jefferson R AL $45,000 Yes Shaheen, Jeanne D NH $2,250 Yes Shelby, Richard R AL $25,000 Yes Snowe, Olympia - Rep - ME - $4,000 -Yes Specter, Arlen -Dem - PA - $353,550 - Yes Stabenow, Debbie Ann - Dem - MI - $39,134 - Yes Tester, Jon -Dem - MT -$14,000 - No Thune, John - Rep - SD - $45,300 - Yes Udall, Mark -Dem - CO - $102,275 - No Udall, Tom - Dem - NM - $15,300 - Yes Vitter, David - Rep - LA - $17,050 - Yes Voinovich, George -Rep - OH - $63,750 - No Warner, Mark -Dem - VA - $84,950 - No Webb, Jim -Dem - VA - $8,750 - Yes Whitehouse, Sheldon - Dem - RI - $11,800 - No Wicker, Roger - Rep - MS - $67,600 - Yes Wyden, Ron - Dem - OR - $27,800 - Yes
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