WASHINGTON, April 2, 2007 — Pharmaceutical manufacturers and
their trade groups spent a record $155 million lobbying the federal
government and its agencies from January 2005 to June 2006, according
to a Center for Public Integrity report based on data obtained from the Senate Office of Public Records.
During that time, the drug industry heavily — and successfully —
lobbied against Congress' revisiting a provision in the Medicare
Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 that
barred the federal government from negotiating on Medicare drug prices.
Also on the lobbying agenda were protection of lucrative drug patents
and prevention of the importation of lower-priced Canadian drugs.
In a CBS "60 Minutes" segment that aired Sunday night, Steve Kroft
used data provided by the Center to examine how the pharmaceutical
industry influenced Congress to pass the Medicare prescription
provision, resulting in record prices for prescription drugs.
Since 1998, the top 20 drug companies, their subsidiaries and two
industry trade groups have spent more than $650 million on lobbying.
During this same time period, the industry's top trade group, the
Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), spent
$104 million on lobbying. In 2005, sales for the top companies
represented more than a quarter trillion dollars of the U.S.
prescription drug market.
The prowess of the industry's lobby, which outnumbers members of
Congress two to one, has caught the attention of such groups as the
National Women's Health Network and its program director Amy Allina.
"We are certainly dramatically outspent by [the pharmaceutical
industry]" she said. "You look at the number of lobbyists — we are up
against an army."
The Center for Public Integrity is a nonprofit, nonpartisan
Washington, D.C.-based organization that does investigative reporting
and research on public policy issues. Since 1990, the Center has
released more than 300 investigative reports and 15 books. It has
received the prestigious George Polk Award and more than 20 other
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 also was honored with the Online News Association's
coveted General Excellence award.