Dems still in the pharma-contribution lead

More evidence that pharma is swinging blue--and that Republicans could have a tough time this election year. Drug and medical device companies, who once contributed to the GOP three-to-one over Democrats, have given $7.4 million to Democratic candidates this cycle. That compares with just $7 million for Republican candidates, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. "Money follows the power," a spokeswoman said. "And it can predict power."

The discrepancy is most obvious in the presidential race. We've kept you updated on the pharma-funding imbalance in the race so far, and here are the newest figures: $639,124 for Sen. Barack Obama and $574,828 for Sen. Hillary Clinton, compared with $168,300 for Sen. John McCain. To be fair, there's more reason to give in the closely contested race for the Democratic nomination; because McCain has had his nomination sewn up for some time, fundraising has fallen off, but likely will pick back up as the general election approaches.

One beneficiary of the increased spending on Democrats: Rep. Frank Pallone, who represents a district in New Jersey--which, of course, is home to many of pharma's giants. He's taken in $87,124 from drug and device companies this round. "In the past, I got almost nothing, and many of the Democrats got almost nothing," Pallone said.

- see the Associated Press story