Biopharma Industry Donates More Money to Democrats, Reversing Trend of Higher Republican Support
Since 1990, drug companies’ political committees have largely donated to Republican presidential campaigns. But that trend has noticeably reversed come the 2020 election cycle, according to a new report from the Center for Responsive Politics which shows that approximately 51% of total contributions in 2020 from biopharma organizations are being funneled toward Democrats.
Donors affiliated with biopharma companies have contributed $975,685 to the Biden-Harris campaign, according to the report. This is a stark contrast to only $360,548 for President Trump.
Pfizer leads the pact of contributors at $1,128,933 in donations to the Democratic cause in the years 2019 and 2020, whereas a total of $857,781 of donations from Pfizer affiliates have gone to support Republicans. Amgen, which comes second in the lead with a total of $1,288,936 to political causes, has donated $709,809 to Republicans versus $567,275 to Democrats.
AbbVie has also given more money to Democrats compared to Republicans, including funding to a tune of $652,941 compared with $555,567, respectively. AstraZeneca, which is currently in the lead of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine race, has given a total of $559,696 to political organizations between 2019 and 2020. Approximately $301,480 of this has gone to Democrats and $256,151 has been gifted to Republicans.
President Trump, who has previously criticized the prices of prescription drugs and the companies that sell them, is now vocal for his support of certain drug companies following his widely-reported recovery from COVID-19 using investigational drugs from Regeneron.
“So, I just want to say we have Regeneron, we have a very similar drug from Eli Lilly, and they’re coming out and we’re trying to get them on an emergency basis,” President Trump said in a video posted on his Twitter account.
Immediately following the release of this video, Regeneron announced it had applied to the FDA for an EUA of its COVID-19 antibody cocktail, REGEN-COV-2, which President Trump received early in the course of his infection, despite the lack of any use authorization at the time.
Leonard Schleifer, CEO of Regeneron and long-time acquaintance of President Trump, has historically provided political funding for Democrats. In 2018, for instance, Schleifer gave around $120,000 to an action committee that attempted to help Democrats gain control of the Senate.
Approximately four-fifths of the $177,000 donated so far by Regeneron’s political action committee and employeeshave gone to Democrats, with $35,203 of this going to the Biden campaign compared with only $3,296 for President Trump.
In spite of these figures, Regeneron has been granted $450 million by the current administration, under project Operation Warp Speed, to produce and supply their COVID-19 antibody cocktail.
In addition, the free publicity given by President Trump for Eli Lilly, which has donated approximately $545,004 to the Republican campaign compared with $404,273 to the Democrat campaign, occurred concurrently with the pharmaceutical giant’s announcement early this week that it has submitted an EUA for its COVID-19 antibody treatment, LY-CoV555.
President Trump has also voiced his support Gilead Sciences, whose COVID-19 antiviral therapy remdesivirwas used in combination with corticosteroid dexamethasone in treating his infection.