In the United States, tax exempt non-profit organizations are subject some some requirements for financial disclosure via the IRS form 990, which is available to the public. The disclosure requirements cover most U.S. based trade associations, including the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the trade association for some 28 “member” companies.
While PhRMA’s name includes “Manufacturers of America,” many member companies are foreign owned, including for example: AstraZeneca (Sweden, UK), Astellas (Japan), Boehringer Ingelheim (Germany), Daiichi Sankyo (Japan), Eisal (Japan) EMD Serono (Germany, Switzerland), GSK (UK), Lundbeck (Denmark), Novartis (Switzerland), Otsuka (Japan), sanofi-aventis (Germany, France), Takeda (Japan) and others.
The amount of useful information available in a 990 return varies. There are, of course, lots of ways a trade association can make it difficult to follow the money — such as by hiring a public relations or lobbying firm, that in turn can give money to various academics or non-profit organizations that are paid to echo the views and/or support the interests of a trade association. (See for example Archstone Consulting hiring Lawton Burns of the Wharton School, to co-author “The Biopharmaceutical Sector’s Impact on the U.S. Economy: Analysis at the National, State, and Local Levels.”)
In PhRMA’s 220 page 2008 990 filing, Schedule I-1 reports “Grants and Other Assistance to Organizations, Governments, and Individuals in the U.S., paid in 2008.” This includes more than 300 itemized entries totaling $17,832,944. While $17.8 million seems like a lot of money, it was less than 7 percent of the PhRMA budget that year, and a tiny fraction of the overall industry spending to influence policy (It does not include money spent directly by companies themselves, or through other trade associations). The following table provides a few of the grants reported by PhRMA on their 2008 tax return.
Name of organization Notes Amount of cash grant America’s Agenda Healthcare Education Fund This is labor/pharmaceutical industry coalition lobbying for the Obama health care bill. $1,130,000 Foundation for the National Institutes of Health “A non-profit, 501(c)(3) corporation, the foundation raises private-sector funds for a broad portfolio of unique programs that complement and enhance NIH priorities and activities.” $1,000,000 Northwestern University School of Law $550,000 Partnership for Quality Medical Donations A group funded by the drug companies to exploit the enhanced deduction for donations of pharmaceutical drugs.
See in particular IRC 170(e)(3) Exception.
$548,000 Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement $500,000 Baylor College of Medicine $500,000 American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research For examples of AEI’s work on pharmaceutical policy, see these links. $440,000 American Legislative Exchange Council This is a right-wing group that focuses on state legislatures. Among their work is “The State Legislators Guide to Prescription Drug Policy.” The Council’s “Private Enterprise Board” includes Sandy Oliver (Bayer), John Del Giorno (GlaxoSmithKline), Don Bohn (Johnson & Johnson) and Jeff Bond (PhRMA). $379,192 Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development The Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development (CSDD) is a go-to place for industry pleasing academic research on pharmaceutical policy issues. Founded in 1976 by long time industry advocate and consultant Louis Lasagna, the CSDD is the source that almost all journalists and academics use to cite the cost of developing new drugs. Among the research staff are Joseph A. DiMasi, Christopher-Paul Milne and Kenneth I Kaitin. $356,290 Minneapolis/Saint Paul 2008 Host Committee Republican National Convention $350,000 Center for American Progress Action Fund The CAP is headed by John D. Podesta, the former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton. In 2008, John Podesta was the head of the Obama Administration transition team. His brother Anthony represented a number of pharmaceutical companies. $265,000 International Policy Network The International Policy Network (IPN) is part of a network of “free market” organizations that provide services to various corporate interests, such as those involved in climate change, tobacco regulation, regulation of pesticides and other chemicals, privatization of water, pharmaceutical drug patents and prices, and other issues. IPN describes itself as “an independent” think tank, but is considered a front group for various corporate interests by many NGOs. IPN provides a drumbeat of criticism of compulsory licensing of drug patents or attempts at price controls, and is the source of a number of attacks on the use of legitimate generic drugs. IPN also is used by big drug companies like Pfizer and Merck to attack various public health NGOs, such as MSF, Oxfam or KEI. This is a somewhat dated account of IPN from sourcewatch. $260,000 Denver 2008 Convention Host Committee Democratic National Convention $250,000 Community Outreach for Health Awareness $200,000 National Health Council The National Health Council (NHC) is presented as an advocacy group for patients that have chronic diseases and disabilities. It’s board includes various disease focused advocacy organizations and pharma industry executives such as David W. Beier (Amgen), George Guido (AstraZeneca), Thomas W. Wallace (Ely Lilly), Kevin Rigby (Novartis), Nina Hill (Pfizer), and Billy Tauzin (PhRMA). Tauzin is the Secretary of the Board. $200,000 National Medical Association $200,000 Personalized Medicine Coalition The board of directors of this non-profit includes representatives from Abbott, Endo Pharmaceuticals, PhRMA, Pfizer, Takeda and other firms. According to their web page:
A strong intellectual property system is necessary to stimulate investment in innovation. It is essential that government patent systems offer protection for innovations relating to personalized medicine, as well as high quality patent examination that allows patents of appropriate scope and quality.
$180,000 Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University $175,000 Americans for Tax Reform Foundation This is Grover Norquist’s operation. $165,000 Center for the Rule of Law This non-profit is headed by Ronald A. Cass, who from 2007 to 2008 launched a number of attacks on Thailand’s compulsory licenses of medicines. $150,000 George Washington University School of Law $125,000 Center for Medicine in the Public Interest The CMPI is a small front group funded by the pharmaceutical industry to publicize industry views under a “public interest” label. Co-founded by former Bush administration communications and policy adviser at the FDA Peter Pits, and Robert Goldberg, formerly with the Manhattan Institute, the CMPI provides a steady diet of pro-industry and anti-consumer views on a range of pharmaceutical issues. A new Senior Fellow at CMPI is former republican New Jersey Congressman Mike Ferguson. Ferguson is also a lobbyist for several pharmaceutical companies.
There is more on CMPI by PR Watch.
$120,000 President and Fellows of Harvard College $101,000 National Academy of Sciences $100,000 University of Chicago Law School $100,000 Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) In 2007, Billy Tausin of PhRMA was elected to the KGI board. A number of industry executives service on the KGI advisory council. KGI provides technical workshops to the FDA on the designation of orphan drugs. $100,000 Alliance for Patient Access Described as a “network of physicians with the shared mission of ensuring and protecting patient access to approved medical treatments and therapies, including prescription pharmaceuticals, biologics, and medical devices.” This group lobbies against policies to control costs or promote generic drugs. They oppose comparative effectiveness research, evidence based medicine, a regulatory pathway for biosimiliar products, pay for performance, and marketing restrictions. $95,000 Manhattan Institute for Policy Research “Market Friendly Policy Solutions.” These are examples of the Manhattan Institute’s research on pharmaceutical policy. $95,000 Heritage Foundation Heritage work on prescription drugs. $75,000 Galen Institute Galen is devoted to “advancing free-market ideas in health policy.” Here are examples of Galen’s work on pharmaceuticals. $45,000 National Consumers League The NCL has defended direct to consumer advertising. A report on the NCL by CSPI is available here. $30,000 Heartland Institute Group supporting “a free-market approach to improving the nation’s health care system.” The article “Drug Industry Profits are Good for Everybody” is an example of their work. $10,000