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President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference marking his first year in office in the East Room of the White House. (AP) President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference marking his first year in office in the East Room of the White House. (AP)

President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference marking his first year in office in the East Room of the White House. (AP)

Sara Swann
By Sara Swann January 28, 2022

Biden did not receive millions from the drug industry as a member of Congress

If Your Time is short

  • Among people who have served in Congress, President Joe Biden holds the record for most campaign contributions from the pharmaceutical industry. But the bulk of it came during his 2020 presidential campaign.

  • Biden does not hold the top spot for drug industry contributions “while in Congress.” He received just over $69,000 during his Senate career.

Throughout his political career, President Joe Biden has received campaign contributions from the pharmaceutical industry. But a photo circulating on Facebook exaggerates how much support Biden received as a senator from Delaware.

"Did you know? Joe Biden holds the all-time record for the most money received from Pharma while in Congress! $8,550,422. Catching on yet?" claimed a photo shared on Facebook on Jan. 4.

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

Among people who have served in Congress, Biden holds a record for drug industry contributions. But the record is not for the money received when he was in Congress, as the post says.

Biden has received more than $8.8 million from political action committees and individuals within the pharmaceutical and health products industry, according to OpenSecrets, a nonpartisan nonprofit tracking money in politics. OpenSecrets’ website lists him as the top all-time recipient of pharmaceutical industry money among people who served in Congress.

But less than 1% of Biden’s total came during his 36-year tenure in Congress. The rest came during his campaign for president in 2020. The next three highest recipients among people who have served in Congress were also candidates for president as their party’s nominees: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney, now a Utah senator.

Between 1989 and 2008, the pharmaceutical industry gave Biden’s Senate campaign committees $69,100, ranking him 708th among members of Congress, said Doug Weber, senior researcher for OpenSecrets.

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The list doesn’t include Donald Trump, who never served in Congress. In his 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns, Trump collected just over $3.2 million from the pharmaceutical industry.

Excluding presidential candidates, Utah Republican Orrin Hatch, who retired in 2019 after 42 years in the Senate, holds the record for the highest pharmaceutical industry contributions to a member of Congress: $2,681,843. 

The highest-ranking Democrat on the list is Rep. Anna Eshoo of California, who has received $2,007,631 from the industry since she took office in 1993, according to OpenSecrets.

Our ruling

A Facebook post said, "Joe Biden holds the all-time record for the most money received from Pharma while in Congress! $8,550,422."

Among past and current members of Congress, Biden holds the record for drug industry contributions, at nearly $8.9 million. But the record is not for the money received when he was in Congress, as the post says. More than 99% of the drug industry money Biden collected came during his 2020 presidential campaign.

The pharmaceutical industry contributed less than $70,000 to Biden’s Senate campaign committees from 1989 to 2008. He ranks 708th for contributions received while Congress.

We rate this claim Half True.

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Biden did not receive millions from the drug industry as a member of Congress

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