Vaccination allegations

Opponents of vaccine legislation say lawmakers are influenced by Big Pharma

Opponents of Senate Bill 277, the child vaccination bill making its way through the California Legislature, allege that lawmakers who support the measure have been influenced by campaign donations from the pharmaceutical industry.

SB 277 would end the personal belief exemption allowing parents to opt their children out of immunization and require that all schoolchildren in the state be fully vaccinated, and some critics say the pharmaceutical industry has a keen interest in passing the legislation, according to The Sacramento Bee. However, no link between drug companies and SB 277 are evident in drug companies' lobbyist filings, and Priscilla VanderVeer, spokeswoman for Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, refutes the claims.

“We aren't pushing this bill behind the scenes,” she said.

Pharmaceutical companies and drug trade groups donated more than $2 million to current members of the Legislature in 2013-14. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento)—co-author of SB 277—received the most, at $95,000.