Drug companies donated millions to California lawmakers before vaccine debate
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, California's leading newspaper)
Posted: June 21st, 2015
A subplot to the vociferous debate over the student vaccination bill moving through Californias Capitol is opponents allegations that the effort reflects the influence of the pharmaceutical industry. Critics of Senate Bill 277, which would eliminate the personal belief and religious exemptions for schoolchildren, accuse the measures supporters in the Legislature of doing the bidding of donors who make vaccines and other pharmaceuticals. The bills proponents and drug companies dismiss the charge. Pharmaceutical companies and their trade groups gave more than $2 million to current members of the Legislature in 2013-2014, about 2 percent of the total raised. Nine of the top 20 recipients are either legislative leaders or serve on either the Assembly or Senate health committees. Receiving more than $95,000, the top recipient of industry campaign cash is Sen. Richard Pan, a Sacramento Democrat and doctor who is carrying the vaccine bill. In addition, the industry donated more than $500,000 to outside campaign spending groups that helped elect some current members last year. Leading pharmaceutical companies also spent nearly $3 million more during the 2013-2014 legislative session lobbying the Legislature, the governor, the state pharmacists board and other agencies, according to state filings.