First-of-its-kind examination shows how widely pharma showers campaign cash at the state level.

Over one-quarter of all U.S. state lawmakers nationwide have accepted money from the pharmaceutical industry since the beginning of 2019, according to a new STAT examination.

The analysis, conducted in partnership with the National Institute on Money in Politics, provides a first-of-its-kind study of the drug industry’s influence in state capitols. It follows a companion analysis of drug industry spending at the federal level, which revealed $11 million in industry contributions. 

In Illinois, more than 79% of the state’s 177 elected lawmakers have cashed a check. In California, over 85% of lawmakers have taken pharma money. The data reveals the drug industry has poured over $5 million into state legislators’ campaigns in the past two years alone.

Drug companies’ spending appears largely strategic, and often targets chairs of key committees or other high-ranking lawmakers in large states with a major drug industry presence, like California, Illinois, and New Jersey.

The donations come amid a national reckoning over drug prices, which American voters consistently rank as a top political priority. 

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