The Associated Press and the Center for Public Integrity have explored political contributions and lobbying by the companies that make opioids and the advocacy groups -- many of them funded by drugmakers -- who often back them up on policy matters.
The reporting revealed that companies and their allies have stood in the way of policies intended to control an epidemic of opioid abuse.
For tips on localizing this story, or to get a list of opioid bills that have been passed in recent years, see this.
- The pharmaceutical companies and allied groups that comprise the Pain Care Forum - a coalition of companies and advocacy groups that meets monthly to discuss opioid-related issues - spent more than $880 million from 2006 through 2015 on campaign contributions and lobbying expenses at the state and federal levels. They hired an average of more than 1,350 state lobbyists and more than 115 federal lobbying organizations each year during that 10-year period.
- That spending is more than eight times* what the National Rifle Association, state gun groups and top gun manufacturers recorded for similar activities during that same period.
- Meanwhile advocates of stronger opioid rules, such as Shatterproof and Phoenix House, spent only $4 million from 2006 through 2015 on campaign contributions and lobbying expenses at the state and federal levels. They registered an average of eight lobbyists at the state level and two lobbyists at the federal level each year.
- Members of the Pain Care Forum contributed to more than 8,500 different candidates for state and federal office from 2006 through 2015, with contributions to an average of more than 3,300 candidates per even-year election cycle.
- From 2013 through 2015, more than 800 state bills about opioids were introduced across the country, according to Quorum, a legislative tracking service. Of those bills, at least 207 were approved.^
- From 2006 through 2014 more than 356,000 people died of drug overdoses in the U.S. Prescription painkillers and heroin account for the majority of the deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The number of overdoses increased by 37 percent in that period, with more than 47,000 people dying of overdoses in 2014.
- In 2015, more than 227 million opioid prescriptions were written, enough to provide a prescription to 9 of 10 U.S. adults.
* This figure was changed on Sept. 7 after a CPI fact-check
^ These numbers were updated Sept. 13 after Quorum refined their methodology to identify more bills.
National Pain Care Forum Stats
Here are topline national figures on Pain Care Forum member contributions to state and federal candidates, along with spending on state and federal lobbying efforts. Data on 2015 contributions is incomplete and should not be compared to previous years. State lobbying spending is also incomplete for all years. A list of members of the PCF can be found here.
All topline table sources: National Institute on Money in State Politics, Center for Responsive Politics, Federal Election Commission, U.S. House of Representatives Office of the Clerk, Internal Revenue Service
|* 2015 data is not complete|
Here are topline national figures on the number of lobbyists hired by members of the Pain Care Forum.
|Distinct State Lobbying||1,239||1,284||1,356||1,294||1,438||1,503||1,207||1,364||1,382||1,630|
|Distinct Federal Lobbying Organizations||116||122||138||127||121||116||112||108||105||101|
National Opioid Opponent Stats
Here are topline national figures on opioid opponent contributions to state and federal candidates, along with spending on state and federal lobbying efforts. Data on 2015 contributions is incomplete and should not be compared to previous years. State lobbying spending is also incomplete for all years. A list of opioid opponents can be found below PCF members here.
|* 2015 data is not complete|
Here are topline national figures on the number of lobbyists hired by groups opposed to opioids.
|Distinct State Lobbying||5||3||5||7||7||11||1||12||10||22|
|Distinct Federal Lobbying Organizations||2||2||2||2||2||2||2||1||1||1|
The membership of the Pain Care Forum was determined by looking at membership directories for the organization from 2006 through 2013, obtained by the Center for Public Integrity. The Center for Public Integrity and Associated Press then searched for contributions and lobbying data attributed to members of the Pain Care Forum. These groups are labeled either PHARM or ALLIED. We also searched for advocacy groups that favor tighter restrictions, which are labeled ANTI.
The analysis is based on state campaign finance and lobbying data collected by the National Institute on Money in State Politics, federal campaign finance data from the Center for Responsive Politics and Federal Election Commission, plus federal lobbying data from the U.S. House of Representatives Office of the Clerk and IRS data about 527 groups (national political groups, such as the Republican Governors Association, regulated by the IRS) collected by the Center for Public Integrity.
State-level contribution data show the total contributed by each of the companies and organizations to state and federal candidates and state parties each year.
Federal totals include contributions to candidates, their leadership committees, federal parties and political action committees.
Drug overdose figures are from the CDC and include a 2014 rate of deaths per 100,000 people, using population data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Drug prescription numbers are from IMS Health, a healthcare information company.
The drug companies and allied organizations who are members of the Pain Care Forum can be found in this list. Groups favoring tighter restrictions are listed below the PCF members.
CONTRIBUTIONS - Contributions from a PCF member or an opposition group to state and federal candidates (and their federal leadership PACs) between 2006 and 2015. Reporting for 2015 is incomplete. This does not include donations to non-candidate national political groups, such as the National Association of Attorneys General, reflected in the summary totals above. Negative contributions reflect refunds from previous years. Get data. Sources: National Institute on Money in State Politics, Center for Responsive Politics, Federal Election Commission
STATE CONTRIBUTIONS TOTALS - Overall contributions by members of the Pain Care Forum to state candidates and parties from 2006 through 2015 for each state. Data for 2015 is not complete. Additionally, it includes proportional rankings for PCF member contributions compared with overall contributions in that state that allow for comparisons between states. Get data. Source: National Institute on Money in State Politics
STATE LOBBYING TOTALS - The number of registered lobbyists employed by members of the Pain Care Forum for each year, 2006-2015, in each state. It includes proportional rankings for PCF member lobbyists compared with overall lobbyists in that state that allow for comparisons between states. Get data. Source: National Institute on Money in State Politics
DRUG DEATHS - All drug overdose deaths by state from 2006 through 2014. The data isn't limited to opioids, but the CDC has indicated that prescription opioids and heroin account for the majority of drug deaths. Get data. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
PRESCRIPTIONS - A state-by-state breakdown of the number of opioid prescriptions issued from 2013 through 2015, as well as the rate of 2015 prescriptions per person in each state. Get data. Source: IMS Health
IMPORTANT NOTES ABOUT THIS DATA
All the organizations included in this analysis are involved in a number of issues beyond opioids and it's impossible to say how much of their spending was directly related to influencing opioid laws.
The data don't include independent expenditures at either the state or federal level.
State campaign finance data don't include contributions to state political action committees or ballot measures.
The data don't include contributions to politically active nonprofit organizations, that typically don't disclose their donors.
State laws about campaign contributions and lobbying differ greatly, so please use our proportional rankings to compare states, rather than raw numbers.
The state lobbying expenditure data are not comprehensive. If your state doesn't have data included for a particular year, or at all, it doesn't mean there wasn't any lobbying spending by the companies in our analysis. As with the state lobbying registration data, comparisons between states should be avoided.
As with all the data shown here, these numbers may not include all relevant contributions received by candidates. Specifically, data for federal candidates may not include all leadership PAC donations. Candidates’ totals represent a minimum and language in stories should be used to reflect that. We also caution reporters not to compare an individual candidate’s contribution totals across years without cross-checking the data with a state or federal data source.
IMPORTANT: The 2015 state contribution data are not complete for all states and the 2015 federal contribution data were collected differently than prior years' data. As such, avoid making direct comparisons in overall giving between earlier years and 2015.
- Contributor: Represents the contributions from employees, political action committees and the treasury of a company or organization.
- Pharm: Pharmaceutical companies or drug trade groups in the Pain Care Forum.
- Allied: Other connected organizations in the Pain Care Forum.
- Anti: Advocates of stricter opioid laws and regulations.
- Total: Total contributions for a given year, note that negative contributions indicate refunded contributions for previous years.
- Year: Year in which the contribution was given to the candidate.
- Filer: Candidate or political party that received the donations. Note that federal candidate contributions include money received by a candidate and his/her affiliated leadership committee.
- FilerType: The type of recipient, either a federal candidate, state candidate or state party.
- District: The specific seat a candidate was running for. For federal candidates, districts with the letter S refer to Senate seats. The value for state parties is listed as NULL.
- State: State of the recipient candidate.
- Office: Type of office a candidate is running for. "State lower" means the House equivalent; "State Upper" is the Senate or equivalent.
- Party: Political affiliation of candidate/party.
State Contributions Totals
- State: State in which contributions were received.
- 2006-2015: Total contributions by PCF members to candidates for state office and state political parties in each year. Please note that 2015 data is incomplete.
- Total: Sum of contributions by PCF members to candidates for state office and state political parties from 2006 through 2015.
- Rank: Based on the ratio in each state of contributions by PCF members to all contributions in the time period. The lower the number, the greater the weight of PCF giving in a state.
State Lobbying Totals
- State: State in which lobbyists were registered.
- 2006-2015: Distinct number of lobbyists hired by PCF members in each year.
- Average: Average number of distinct lobbyists employed each year by PCF members from 2006 through 2015.
- Rank: Based on the ratio in each state of distinct lobbyists employed by PCF members to all distinct lobbyists in a state.
- State: State in which drug deaths occurred.
- 2006 - 2014 Deaths: Drug overdose deaths for each year. Note that this number includes all drug overdose deaths, not just opioids. However, the CDC has indicated that prescription opioids and heroin account for the majority of drug deaths.
- 2014 Rate Per 100,000: Drug overdose deaths per 100,000 people in a state. This figure puts the raw number of drug deaths in each state in context and is what you should use if you want to compare drug deaths in your state with other states.
- Total Deaths: Total number of drug overdose deaths in a given state from 2006 to 2014.
- % Change 06-14: Percent change in number of drug deaths in a given state from 2006 to 2014.
- State: State in which opioids were prescribed.
- 2013 - 2015 Rx Total: Raw number of prescriptions for opioids in a given state.
- 2015 Rx Per Capita: The number of prescriptions compared with the population of a state. Please note that this is the total population, not simply adults.