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Freedom Virginia: Republicans have forgotten Virginians struggling to pay for meds

Crystal Graham
prescription drug pills on pile of money
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Republicans who actively opposed the Prescription Drug Affordability Board in Virginia are being rewarded by big pharmaceutical companies with large donations, according to the nonprofit Freedom Virginia.

Despite an AARP poll showing three quarters of Virginia voters support creating a Prescription Drug Affordability Board, most Republicans in the state did not support the measure which would set upper-price limits on certain high-cost medicines.

“House Republicans have made it crystal clear: They stand with big pharmaceutical corporations over Virginians struggling to pay for the medication they need,” said Freedom Virginia Executive Director Rhena Hicks. “As a type one diabetic, I take multiple medications to stay alive every day that could cost tens of thousands of dollars annually without insurance. Republicans claim they care about making life more affordable for families while taking buckets of cash from pharmaceutical companies pricing people out of life-saving medication.”

Freedom Virginia: Following the money trail

  • Speaker Todd Gilbert accepted $50,000 this week from the Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) into his Republican Commonwealth Leadership PAC. Gilbert leads the caucus that killed the Prescription Drug Affordability Board, even after the bill passed out of the Senate with strong bipartisan support.
  • The PhRM donation to Gilbert’s PAC follows major donations the big pharmaceutical lobbying group made to Governor Glenn Youngkin and Senator Siobhan Dunnvant (R-Henrico), both of whom actively opposed establishing a Prescription Drug Affordability Board during this year’s legislative session.
  • These donations are among the nearly $220,000 they have given to Republicans throughout the 2023 campaign cycle.
  • The Republican Commonwealth Leadership PAC has donated nearly $4 million to Republican candidates and the Republican Party of Virginia during the 2023 campaign cycle.
  • Manufacturers of the most cost-burdensome drugs in Virginia, such as Eli Lilly, are expected to take in tens of billions in revenue and have donated nearly $100,000 to Gilbert.
  • In the 2023 cycle, Pfizer, which recently announced it would charge $1,400 for a five-day course of the COVID drug Paxlovid, has given $5,000 to Gilbert, $3,500 to the House Republican Campaign Committee, and $1,000 to Dunnavant, who voted against the Prescription Drug Affordability bill in the Senate.

For more information, visit https://freedomva.org/

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.