When the top pharmaceutical lobby in the U.S. sponsored a Twitter chat on the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in March of last year, labor unions trolled it hard.
But not all unions are as repulsed by Big Pharma’s lobbying on trade. Some even support it.
Seven different unions — the Boilermakers, Electrical Workers, Fire Fighters, Iron Workers, Plumbers and Sheet Metal Workers, as well as the International Union of Police Associations — are united with the nation’s biggest drug companies in an alliance that’s spent almost $1 million lobbying Congress on intellectual-property rights, which would be covered by the proposed TPP.
The unions are members of the Pharmaceutical Industry Labor Management Association (Pilma), a coalition including the powerful Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and major drug companies such as Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer Inc. Since May 2009, Pilma has doled out $720,000 lobbying Congress for “patent protection regulations within trade agreements,” in addition to $342,500 on TPP and other issues such as Medicare Part D, according to a review of lobbying-disclosure forms by International Business Times.