Statistics in the News: Chapter 6 Presenting Data: Tables and Graphs
The Drug Industry and the War on Terrorism
As Chapter 6 notes, a simple graph can sometimes neatly summarize an important story. Here is one case in point: In the fall of 2001, with anthrax spores showing up in various places, executives of the nation's major drug companies were streaming to Washington. They were staging a massive lobbying effort, at the highest levels of government, to help shape the nation's bioterrorist campaign. In the process, they managed to stave off many actions that would harm them, like violating patents or forcing them to supply free drugs.
Indeed, American pharmaceutical companies have more lobbyists than there are members of Congress-625 who are registered. The industry's lobbying and campaign contribution budget-$197 million in 1999/2000-typically exceeds that of any other industry. Figure A, drawn with EXCEL, explains.
FIGURE A Political Spending by U.S. Industries, 1999/2000
Drug company executives offered to send scores of industry scientists, now on their payrolls, to work in government agencies "as a gift to the nation." Yet critics noted that industry executives, in top-level meetings, were also seeking exemption from antitrust legislation, reduction of the timetable for getting new drugs to market, the elimination of regulatory barriers, and immunity from lawsuits for any vaccines they develop to combat bioterrorism. Figure B, also created with EXCEL, shows recent lobbying expenditures by particular drug companies.
FIGURE B Lobbying Expenditures By Drug Companies in 2000
Source:Adapted from Leslie Wayne and Melody Petersen, "A Muscular Lobby Rolls Up Its Sleeves," The New York Times, November 4, 2001, pp. BU1 and BU13.