International Business Times: How Big Pharma Secretly Funds The Fight To Keep Drug Prices High

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As the cost of prescription drugs continues to rise in the nation that already pays the most in the world for medications, federal legislators and ballot-measure committees are proposing ways to curb those prices. But pharmaceutical companies, worried their profit margins will decline under the pending proposals, are spending millions of dollars against the initiatives — and in one political bellwether state, they are employing a controversial tactic that uses shell companies to let them evade longstanding campaign finance disclosure laws.

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“Certainly, setting up an LLC to launder drug company money into fighting the ballot measure looks like an effort to evade Ohio's transparency and disclosure laws,” Brendan Fischer, director of federal and Federal Election Commission reform at the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center, told International Business Times in an email.

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“Failure to enforce the straw donor provisions would be extremely troubling,” said Adav Noti, Campaign Legal Center's senior director for trial litigation and strategy. “The straw donor bans exist for the obvious reason of preventing people from giving money in secret... If you can hide your contributions, you’re completely undermining the entire purpose of financial disclosure.”

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