J&J spent nearly $1.7M lobbying government in 3Q

AP News
Posted: Dec 23, 2009 5:59 PM

Johnson & Johnson, which makes health products from Band-Aids to biologic drugs, spent nearly $1.7 million in the third quarter lobbying on the health care overhaul and multiple bills that could boost its sales or lower taxes, according to a recent disclosure form.

Johnson and Johnson, which spent $1.5 million on lobbying in the year-ago period, this year lobbied on patent reform provisions, the federal budget and various aspects of the health care overhaul, including providing access to primary health care to all Americans.

Others included bills to require research comparing the effectiveness of medications and other medical treatments and mandate that health products come with effectiveness information in the detailed package insert, as well as giving the Food and Drug Administration more authority to ensure the safety and quality of medical products.

The world's biggest maker of health care products also lobbied to extend the Children's Health Insurance Program to more children and to expand certain public health programs, such as the National Health Service Corps.

It also lobbied to eliminate some price discounts it now must give on prescription medicines Medicare pays for and against bills to lower prices paid for prescription drugs by the Medicare program.

J&J, which makes the HIV medicine Prezista, lobbied on bills involving Medicaid coverage for low-income people infected with the virus that causes AIDS.

J&J lobbied on a bill meant to limit abuse of the cough suppressant dextromethorphan, an ingredient in its Tylenol Cold medicines.

The company also lobbied on a bill to make drug and medical device makers report payments to doctors such as consulting fees, a hot issue as critics claim medical companies have too much influence over the medical profession.

Johnson & Johnson, a top maker of medical devices such as knee and hip implants, lobbied against overturning a 2008 Supreme Court ruling to again allow patients who allege harm by devices approved by the Food and Drug Administration to sue manufacturers in state courts.

It lobbied on two bills concerning sealing of information in civil lawsuits, an issue because drugmakers often are sued by patients alleging their products caused harm; the companies try to keep such information secret.

The company also lobbied on legislation that would establish a route for generic versions of expensive biologic drugs to be approved. J&J is one of the top makers of biologic drugs, with more than $6 billion in annual sales from just two drugs: Procrit for anemia and Remicade for rheumatoid arthritis and other immune disorders.

J&J lobbied in favor of a tax credit to employers who, like J&J, offer employee wellness programs.

The company also lobbied in support of creating clean energy jobs and reducing global warming pollutants. J&J uses solar power and other clean energy in many facilities in the 57 countries where it operates, and it has been reducing carbon dioxide emissions and making environmentally friendlier packaging.

Besides Congress, the company lobbied the Environmental Protection Agency and the departments of Treasury and Health and Human Services in the July-September period, according to the form filed Oct. 20 with the House clerk's office.

(This version CORRECTS final paragraph to read 'July-September')