Bristol-Myers spent $953K lobbying gov't in 3Q

AP News
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Posted: Dec 23, 2009 6:35 PM

Pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. spent $953,000 lobbying on drug pricing and access, health care and patent reform in the third quarter, according to a quarterly disclosure form.

That was up almost 15 percent from the $840,000 the New York-based company spent on lobbying in the year-ago quarter.

In the July-September period, the maker of blockbuster anti-clotting treatment Plavix lobbied Congress on various aspects of the health care overhaul. Those include improving the health care system, ensuring access "to safe and affordable prescription drugs" and requiring research comparing the effectiveness of drugs and other medical treatments.

The maker of Atripla and Sustiva for HIV infection lobbied for increased awareness and government funding to help pay for early treatment for people with AIDS.

Bristol-Myers also lobbied against the government negotiating discounts for drugs bought through various government programs, and on legislation requiring drugmakers to report consulting fees and other payments to doctors.

The company also lobbied on a bill to reform the U.S. patent system, important because of the increasing number of infringement lawsuits and challenges to patents by generic companies seeking to make cheaper versions of brand-name drugs years before their patents expire.

Bristol-Myers lobbied to block importation of "unsafe prescription drugs" from other countries where they are cheaper.

Bristol-Myers, which draws roughly half its revenue from foreign countries, also lobbied on taxation of income earned overseas, according to the form filed Oct. 20 with the House clerk's office.

It also lobbied Congress on safety questions regarding use of a plastic-hardening chemical called bisphenol-A, used to line infant formula cans, despite the fact that it has spun off its Mead Johnson division, which makes Enfamil infant formula. Some government research indicates the chemical causes cancer in animals.

Besides Congress, Bristol-Myers lobbied the departments of Commerce and State, and the U.S. Trade Representative.