Graduation Year

2017

Date of Submission

4-2017

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Government

Reader 1

Professor Aseema Sinha

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© 2017 Cole J. Mora

Abstract

What is lobbying, properly understood, in the United States, and what strategies and tactics—including and especially those determined by contextual factors, as well as firm characteristics—are commonly employed by corporate lobbies as they operate in our American political environments? Considering this, what are the main strategies and tactics employed by the pharmaceutical lobby, with a particular focus on the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Researchers of America, or PhRMA? Finally, what roles did PhRMA play in the development and passage of the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act, and what can this tell us about the lobbying strategies and tactics utilized by one of the most effective lobbies in modern times, as well as about how their strategies and tactics align, or not, with conventional conceptions of lobbying?

Through effective use of key lobbying tactics such as direct lobbying and use of public awareness, PhRMA completed one of the more successful lobbying campaigns in recent history. When the White House came calling, they were first to the table, for they knew that with that seat came a position of leverage. From there, they were able to build both political and public support to complete a deal with the Obama administration that they positioned as necessary to keep the Affordable Care Act alive. This deal would ensure that the pharmaceutical industry would pay a flat rate of support for the act, and was therefore guaranteed protection from future government attempts to set or regulate the prices of their products and medicines. PhRMA played the long game, and they played it well.

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