Over the past several years the pharmaceutical industry has maintained a virtual stranglehold over the federal government and specifically over the FDA, the agency that has the duty to regulate the drug companies. The industry has done this by donating tremendously large sums of money to politicians and lobbyists who represent their interests. On the lobbying expenditures alone, it was reported that from 1998 – 2004 the pharmaceutical industry spent $673,701,988 for lobbying activity. During 2004, the amount totaled $123,298,552. If you question these numbers, they can be verified by going to the Senate Office of Public Records and checking filings there. The last updated figures will be in June 2005. When I check to see what the industry had spend, I must confess I was shocked. It is unbelievable that corporations could spend this kind of money with very little oversight or control by the federal government. The following companies and organizations, ranked according to the amounts spent, are the five highest spenders and they don’t outspend the rest on the list by very much:
Pharmaceutical Research $72,720,000
& Manufactures of America
Pfizer Inc. $43,522,720
Merck & Co. $40,710,294
Eli Lilly and Co. $36,510,000
You can get a great deal of very interesting information from the Center for Public Integrity. For example you will learn that corporate lobbyists spend nearly $13 billion since 1998 to influence members of Congress and federal officials on legislation and regulation. The group’s website is www.publicintegrity.org
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