Bill would prevent opioid manufacturers from contributing or spending in federal elections

End Citizens United Action Fund today applauded Congressmen Antonio Delgado (NY-19) and Max Rose (NY-11) for introducing the “Save Lives Act.” The bill is aimed at prohibiting political action committees (PACs) of companies that manufacture opioids from contributing or spending money in federal elections. Both Delgado and Rose, who continue to fight for legislation to root out corruption in Washington, reject corporate PAC money.

“Eliminating Big Pharma’s stranglehold over Congress is a powerful step in addressing the opioid crisis,” said End Citizens United Action Fund President Tiffany Muller. “For too long, Big Pharma and its unlimited money has prevented action and progress on issues that affect the lives of the American people. Rep. Delgado and Rose’s bill is common-sense legislation that will prevent the companies perpetuating the opioid epidemic from buying off politicians. End Citizens United thanks Reps. Delgado and Rose for their continued leadership and commitment to rooting out Big Pharma’s undue influence over our politics.”

“Addressing the opioid crisis must also include rooting out the corrupting influences that perpetuate it. The opioid crisis is deeply prevalent in New York, especially in our rural communities, and yet pharmaceutical companies and special interests continue to have free rein to advance their agenda by lining the pockets of lawmakers in Washington,” said Rep. Delgado. “The Save Lives Act will take important steps to limit the influence of opioid manufacturers and make sure our Representatives work for the people they serve—not special interests.”

“After poisoning our children and killing our loved ones, opioid manufacturers should not be able to flood Washington with corporate PAC money to buy protection from prosecution. We must end the corruption and work to bring justice to those impacted by their reckless and dangerous actions,” said Rep. Rose.

Pharmaceutical companies spend far more money than any other industry to influence politicians. From 2007-2017, drug makers poured nearly $2.5 billion into lobbying and funding members of Congress. Over roughly that same period, 68 pharma PACs contributed $79 million to members of Congress, including tens of millions from drug manufacturers that have been sued for their role in the opioid crisis, such as Purdue Pharma, Abbott Laboratories, and Allergan PLC.

Rep. Delgado and Rose’s bill comes amid a national opioid crisis deeply affecting the country’s public health as well as social and economic welfare. Every day, more than 130 people in the United States die from overdosing on opioids, with opioid overdoses increasing 30% from July 2016 through September 2017 in 52 areas in 45 states.

End Citizens United Action Fund, an arm of the campaign finance reform group, encourages ECU’s four million members to call their elected officials, host petition drives, participate in letter to the editor campaigns, and join coalitions of other grassroots advocacy groups to pass legislation to help get big money out of politics.