Drug Industry Increases Lobbying Efforts And Targets Democrats
The drug industry began ramping up its lobbying efforts in 2003, when Medicare Part D began, and now is targeting Democrats.
CQ Politics reports: "The industry is increasingly employing Democratic lobbyists with ties to the Obama administration and congressional leaders such as Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. A few years ago, when Republicans controlled Congress and the White House, industry representatives were solidly allied with the GOP. Such efforts might be having an effect. The drug industry sealed a deal recently with Baucus to offer $80 billion in drug discounts for seniors as part of Medicare. The agreement might preempt efforts by liberal Democrats to seek even deeper concessions from the drug industry. The drug companies have opposed a government health insurance component that President Obama and more liberal Democrats are seeking, a provision that could lead to more control over drug prices."
CQ Politics notes: "Pharmaceutical manufacturers spent more than any other health care sector on lobbying in the first quarter of this year, shelling out almost $50 million to influence the federal policy making, 17 percent more than they did on average for each quarter of 2008, according to an analysis of lobbying disclosure statements by CQ Moneyline. The industry's top trade organization, the Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers Association (PhRMA), spent $6.9 million during the first three months of this year on lobbying expenses, a 37 percent jump from what it spent on average per quarter last year. Overall the pharmaceutical and drug products industry hired 1,309 lobbyists in the first quarter of this year including three dozen former members of Congress, the Center for Responsive Politics found in an analysis of lobbying disclosure filings. PhRMA has built up an extensive lobbying team that now includes both an in-house staff of at least 26 people and 40 outside firms, according to lobbying disclosure forms filed with Congress ... when it comes to campaign money the industry has clearly been shifting its bucks to Democrats" (Roth, 6/30).