The Associated Press

Politics of Pain: A decade of opioid lobbying

Overview

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.

On Sept. 7, CPI and AP staffers presented a webinar on how to use this data. For a copy of the powerpoint presentation, go here.

Findings

* 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

Type 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015* Total
State Contributions $6,102,190 $4,327,522 $7,030,260 $5,508,778 $8,345,235 $6,063,965 $7,388,648 $6,071,365 $8,212,537 $4,542,843* $63,593,343
Federal Contributions $6,601,117 $6,093,569 $8,039,669 $7,487,510 $8,366,103 $7,474,694 $10,781,740 $7,935,545 $9,142,458 $6,919,397 $78,841,802
State Lobbying $2,739,779 $5,826,385 $6,525,656 $6,658,408 $6,653,233 $7,750,348 $11,089,097 $11,698,115 $14,343,891 $11,471,290 $84,756,203
Federal Lobbying $27,730,253 $63,843,155 $68,840,949 $78,609,495 $70,299,557 $70,398,967 $71,940,658 $69,956,535 $69,631,262 $70,353,430 $661,604,261
Total $43,173,339 $80,090,631 $90,436,534 $98,264,191 $93,664,128 $91,687,975 $101,200,142 $95,661,560 $101,330,148 $93,286,960 $888,795,608
* 2015 data is not complete

Here are topline national figures on the number of lobbyists hired by members of the Pain Care Forum.

Type 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
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.

Type 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015* Total
State Contributions N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A $100 N/A $100
Federal Contributions $2,941 $4,500 $17,350 $4,051 $3,800 $450 $5,000 N/A $5,600 $6,200 $49,892
State Lobbying $19,773 $99,748 $101,638 $93,971 $95,305 $86,000 $81,728 $103,310 $111,726 $58,345 $851,544
Federal Lobbying $190,000 $360,000 $344,992 $605,648 $284,896 $324,992 $232,000 $230,000 $230,000 $260,000 $3,062,528
Total $212,714 $464,248 $463,980 $703,670 $384,001 $411,442 $318,728 $333,310 $347,426 $324,545 $3,964,064
* 2015 data is not complete

Here are topline national figures on the number of lobbyists hired by groups opposed to opioids.

Type 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
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

Methodology

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.

Included spreadsheets

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.

Column Definitions

Contributions

State Contributions Totals

State Lobbying Totals

Drug Deaths

Prescriptions

All data collected and prepared by Center for Public Integrity Data Journalist Ben Wieder, who can be contacted at bwieder@publicintegrity.org