A banner year for drug money

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The pharmaceutical industry flooded Congress with money in 2007 in a record $168 million lobbying effort, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis, an increase of 32 percent from the previous year.

Together, the pharmaceutical, medical device and health product industries spent $189 million on lobbying, also a record and nearly three times the $67 million spent in 1998.

The drug industry spending binge brought to the total lobbying efforts to more than $1 billion over the last decade.

The Center said the industry’s lobbying priorities included blocking the importation of inexpensive drugs from other countries, protecting pharmaceutical patents in the U.S. and abroad, and ensuring greater access for pharmaceutical companies in international free trade agreements.  

More than 90 percent of the total was spent by 40 companies and three trade groups: the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the Biotechnology Industry Organization, and the Advanced Medical Technology Association.

Here are the top lobbyists, according to the Center:

As in previous years, the trade group PhRMA led the drug industry in lobbying, spending close to $23 million in 2007, a 26 percent jump over 2006.

Among drug companies, Amgen Inc., a biomedical firm based in Thousand Oaks, California, led by spending more than $16.2 million, and Pfizer, the world’s largest pharmaceutical company, notched second with $13.8 million.

Other big spenders last year included Roche Holding AG ($9 million), Sanofi-Aventis ($8.4 million), GlaxoSmithKline ($8.2 million), Johnson & Johnson Inc. ($7.7 million) and the trade group Biotechnology Industry Organization ($7.2 million).

Consumer Watchdog
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