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Drug Companies Still "Banking" On Dems With Political Money

Friday, 28 Mar 2008 | 12:14 PM ET
CNBC.com

When I heard a soundbite with Sen. Hillary Clintonon CNBC's "Kudlow & Company" last night, it reminded me to check and see if the Center for Responsive Politics had updated its monthly campaign contribution data.

In the speech in North Carolina Thursday, the Democratic presidential candidate said, "...the drug companies have had seven years of a president who stands up for them. I will be a president who stands up for all of you."

But the numbers at www.opensecrets.orgshow that the drug companies are banking on at least having a place at the table in a Clinton or Obama administration. Once again, based on the latest available figures as of March 20th, the two Democratic contenders are at the top of the list when it comes to presidential candidate recipients of contributions from drug manufacturers and the broader healthcare sector.

In the pharmaceuticals/healthcare products category, the web site says Sen. Obama has received more than half-a-million bucks and Sen. Clinton is a close second at $491,000.

And as I've blogged a couple of times before (see related posts below), her campaign has twice received the maximum personal contribution of $2,300 from Jeff Kindler, Chairman and CEO of the world's biggest drug company, Pfizer . Not surprisingly, Republican Sen. John McCain has recently climbed up the list to #5 with $139,000.

And the numbers are much bigger if you look at 2008 election year cycle contributions from the entire health sector. All in, the sector has coughed up $18,000,000 so far. Clinton has grabbed more than anyone or $4.4 million of that cash, Obama has taken $3.9 million and McCain $1.4 million. Obama has also been quite vocal about not being beholden to "special interests" and "lobbyists".

And if you break it down to just the drug manufacturers, Obama is tops at $185,000, Clinton second at $177,000 and McCain 14th at $52,000. In a recent interview, the head of the CRP says the group believes this shows that while the candidate(s) may say one thing on the stump, following the money shows their true allegiances may lie elsewhere. Voters can be the judge of that.

Finally, the gap is widening between the amount of money the industry is throwing at Dems versus Republicans. In election years past, the healthcare/pharma sector has supported GOP candidates by about a two-to-one margin. So far this cycle though, the CRP says 57 percent of the industry's money is going to Democrats and 42 percent to Republicans.

Questions? Comments? Pharma@cnbc.com

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