Take Six Million and Call Me In the Morning

by Erin Klitzke


          Bioterrorism has become a major issue since the ‘War on Terrorism’ began in September of 2001.  This means that the pharmaceuticals industry has suddenly developed a renewed interest in donating to political campaigns.  During the 2000 election, when health care reform and prescription drug plans were important issues on the ticket, contributions skyrocketed, especially to the Republican Party.  This may be due in part to their platform, which went on for pages on how they wanted to reform health care, which would possibly cause millions to turn from Medicare to private HMOs, thus making such companies more money in the long run.  The Democratic Party stated that they wished to prevent such a thing by keeping Medicare strong and not raising its premiums.  In the 2000 election and previous elections, health and pharmaceutical companies tended to give more money to the Republican Party, but do donate to both parties.

          In the current election, already over six million dollars have found their way to the Republican and Democratic parties – most of it to the Republicans.  This may be part of the effort to prevent bioterrorism through inoculations and the development of new drugs to combat biological agents that could be used in attacks on America and her interests abroad.  This could also mean lucrative government contracts for various drug companies, especially if a Republican Congress is elected under a Republican president bent on fighting every ‘terrorist’ group in the world.

          Payback is the only explanation I can see for the giving of money to parties, and a very plausible one.  The instance of pharmaceutical companies giving money to political parties shows a genuine interest in seeing their interests debated and taken into account when decisions are made.  This is a form of payback, especially when their interests are the ones that are favored once the vote is called.