WASHINGTON, June 24, 2008 — Pharmaceutical manufacturers and their trade groups racked up another banner year on Capitol Hill, spending a record $168 million on lobbying in 2007, a 32 percent jump over 2006, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis. Based on data obtained from the Senate Office of Public Records, the pharmaceutical industry has spent more than $1 billion lobbying the federal government over the past decade.
"As the biggest lobby on the Hill, the pharmaceutical industry wields tremendous influence that impacts everything from prescriptions to patents," said Center Executive Director Bill Buzenberg. "The central point is that their massive spending has been highly successful, largely producing the political results the drug industry wants."
The top issues lobbied in 2007 include blocking the importation of drugs, extending pharmaceutical patents, obtaining greater access of U.S. drugs in international free trade agreements, and preventing Congress from limiting direct-to-consumer ads. More than 90 percent of the spending on lobbying was by 40 drug companies and three trade groups — the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the Biotechnology Industry Organization, and the Advanced Medical Technology Association.
PhRMA led the drug industry trade groups in lobbying with close to $23 million spent in 2007, a 26 percent rise from 2006. Among the drug companies, Amgen Inc. took the top spot with $16.2 million, followed by Pfizer, the world's largest pharmaceutical company, at $13.8 million. Other big drug company spenders included Roche Holding AG ($9 million), Sanofi-aventis ($8.4 million), GlaxoSmithKline ($8.2 million), and Johnson & Johnson Inc. ($7.7 million).
The political shift in Congress from Republican to Democratic control helped drive the drug industry's record lobbying spending in 2007. After the Democratic sweep of the House of Representatives, several long-standing critics of the industry, such as Representative Henry Waxman, Democrat of California, assumed leadership roles of powerful committees that pushed for greater oversight of the industry by conducting a series of hearings on issues such as drug safety, pharmaceutical pricing, and availability of generic medicines.
Congress also attempted to give the Food and Drug Administration more regulatory power over the industry and attempted to revisit the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act — a 2003 law that resulted in the largest overhaul of Medicare in its history.
For more information or interviews contact:
Steve Carpinelli Media Relations Coordinator Center for Public Integrity www.publicintegrity.org (202) 481-1225 (office)
The Center for Public Integrity is a nonprofit, nonpartisan independent Washington, D.C.-based organization that does investigative reporting and research on significant public issues. Since 1990, the Center has released more than 400 investigative reports and 17 books. It has received the prestigious George Polk Award and more than 22 other national journalism awards and 16 finalist nominations from national organizations, including PEN USA and Investigative Reporters and Editors. In April 2006, the Society of Professional Journalists recognized the Center with a national award for excellence in online public service journalism for the fifth consecutive year. In October 2006, the Center was honored with the Online News Association's coveted General Excellence Award. In March 2007, the Center was given a special citation for the body of its investigative work from the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.
Thanks for the information on how much the drug industry spend on their lobbyists, Elisabeth. I can't beleive that one company spent $23 million!We recently wrote an article on drug companies relationship with doctors at Brain Blogger. Though the Research Ethics Boards exists to protect research subjects in clinical trials by providing guidelines, sometimes healthcare companies and doctors find a way around them. Is money that big a draw that a doctor could go against his own ethics?
We would like to read your comments on our article. Thank you.
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