Group with consumer-friendly vibe pushes drugmakers' message

As Congress and the Trump administration aim to curb spiraling drug costs, outside groups like the Alliance for Patient Access are raising their voices as they seek to sway the outcome

WASHINGTON -- Outside groups like the Alliance for Patient Access are raising their voices as they seek to influence deliberations in Washington aimed at lowering prescription drug costs.

But not all of these organizations are clear about who they actually represent. Their names can obscure the source of the message and they're cagey about where their money comes from.

The Alliance is a nonprofit group that gives off a consumer-friendly vibe yet is bankrolled by the powerful pharmaceutical industry. It's also closely aligned with a Washington lobbying and public relations firm, Woodberry Associates.

Even a small degree of separation can be valuable at a time when the pharmaceutical industry faces stiff political headwinds.

Drug prices may provide a rare bipartisan issue on which Congress and the White House could collaborate on legislation.