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Conflicts of Interest: Lobbyist Issues

Mar 28, 2023

OPINION: Do you know who else your lobbyist is working for?

Florida independent pharmacy owners recently uncovered a wolf in sheep's clothing; a lobbyist working for both sides of the issue.

Lobbyists are required to list the entities they are working on behalf of that are affected by legislation they are lobbying on. Upon viewing the public record of lobbyists signed in as "for" and "against" Florida’s new PBM reform bill, they discovered a key lobbyist currently has CVS, Florida BCBS, Guidewell, and one of the top 3 pharmaceutical wholesalers all as clients.

Pharmaceutical wholesalers make money from sales to independent pharmacies and use some of that money to secure lobbyists on behalf of those independent pharmacies' best interests. CVS and the most powerful insurer in the state (Florida BCBS and their sister company Guidewell) are never on the same side of legislation as independent pharmacies.

How can a lobbyist working both sides of the coin attend client meetings, and disseminate information for two completely opposing organizations? Or do our nation's wholesalers have ulterior motives?

Lobbyists tend to want to make as much money as possible, and while not all lobbyists are crooked, with an extensive knowledge of how government works, these types of conflicts of interest can get swept under the rug in favor of the almighty dollar. The lesson? Before spending thousands of dollars on a lobbyist to advocate on your behalf, be sure to do your homework on their other clients. You never know who you might be accidentally leaving to guard the henhouse!

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