ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland ranks 11th among states for the average number of lobbyists each year working for makers of prescription painkillers and allied groups, when drug makers’ lobbying hires are ranked using a ratio factoring in all lobbyist registrations in each state, a joint investigation by The Associated Press and the Center for Public Integrity has found.
Nationwide, companies that make prescription opioid painkillers and allied groups have spent more than $880 million from 2006 through 2015 on campaign contributions and lobbying over the past decade as they worked to influence state and federal policies, the investigation found. The companies and groups employed an annual average of 1,350 lobbyists in state capitals around the country and contributed to a total of 7,100 candidates for state-level office, according to the investigation.
The also hired more than 115 federal lobbying organizations each year during that 10-year period.
The groups have an array of political interests that include opioid advocacy, and their spending was eight times what the gun lobby spent during the same period. The overall picture of drug-related lobbying in Maryland in recent years has been complicated by robust interest the state’s efforts to get a stalled medical marijuana program off the ground.
Groups seeking limits on opioid prescribing spent about $4 million, by comparison nationwide.