Pain Care Lobby Gave $3.5M in Ohio as Opioid Deaths Climbed

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — As Ohio’s accidental overdose epidemic climbed toward a record high, an army of lobbyists representing makers of prescription painkillers poured more than $3.5 million into Ohio political coffers.

Data analyzed by The Associated Press and the Center for Public Integrity show pharmaceutical companies and allied groups belonging to the Pain Care Forum lobbying collective gave nearly $2.5 million to federal candidates from Ohio from 2006 through 2015.

State-level giving of more than $1 million went to candidates of both parties, including governors, attorneys general, justices and legislators in power positions over Ohio health law.

Then-House Speaker John Boehner received the most among federal candidates, Gov. John Kasich most among state candidates. Both are Republicans. Top state givers were Pfizer, Abbott Labs, Merck and Johnson & Johnson.