"They contribute massive amounts of money to political people," he said, standing next to Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader.
"I don't know, Mitch, maybe even to you," he added.
Trump was right on both counts. Pharmaceutical companies spend far more than any other industry to influence politicians. Drugmakers have poured close to $2.5bn into lobbying and funding members of Congress over the past decade.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars have gone to McConnell — although he is hardly alone. Nine out of 10 members of the House of Representatives and all but three of the U.S.’s 100 senators have taken campaign contributions from pharmaceutical companies seeking to affect legislation on everything from the cost of drugs to how new medicines are approved.
Trump’s nominee for drug czar, the U.S. congressman Tom Marino, was forced to withdraw after a report by the Washington Post and CBS’s 60 Minutes highlighted his role in forging legislation that hinders the DEA’s ability to move against drug distributors or pharmacies recklessly dispensing the opioid painkillers at the heart of the epidemic, which claims more than 100 lives a day.
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