The pharmaceutical industry’s main trade group spent more than $6.9 million lobbying during the first three months of this year. Its main focus was health care reform, according to a recent disclosure report. The $6.9 million was almost twice the amount spent last year. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America spent $3.6 million on lobbying in the year-ago period. The group’s members include Pfizer Inc., Merck & Co., Johnson & Johnson and more than two dozen other U.S. and foreign companies.
Among the areas where the money was spent, PhRMA lobbied on healthcare-related aspects of the 2010 federal budget, the federal stimulus plan, and the budgets of health-related agencies. Interestingly, the group also lobbied Congress on the confirmation of Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius as Secretary of Health and Human Services prior to her approval by the Senate on April 28th.
Besides Congress, PhRMA also lobbied the Department of Health and Human Services and several of its agencies, and the Commerce Department. Among those registered to lobby on the trade group’s behalf in the first quarter were: Jennifer Swenson (former legislative director for Sen. Pat Roberts, R-KS); Matt Sulkala (former senior legislative assistant to Rep. Allen Boyd, D-FL); Valerie Jewett (former legislative director to Rep. Rodney Frelinguysen, R-NJ); Michael Woody (formerly a professional staffer on the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee); and David Boyer (who served in about a half-dozen positions in the Food and Drug Administration, the White House and elsewhere).
Interestingly, former Congressman William J. “Billy” Tauzin (who was known to be a lackey for the drug manufacturers in Congress) now serves as President and CEO of PhRMA. He served as chairman of the House committee that regulated the pharmaceutical industry. After Tauzin pushed a major drug bill through Congress, he resigned and took his new job on January 3, 2004.
Source: Associated Press
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