The pharmaceutical industry's main trade group spent $6.8 million in the third quarter lobbying Congress, the White House and numerous government agencies on health care provisions and other issues, according to a quarterly disclosure report.
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America spent about 25 percent more than the approximately $5.4 million it paid out for lobbying in the year-ago period. The group's members include drug giants Pfizer Inc., Merck & Co., Johnson & Johnson and more than two dozen other U.S. and foreign companies.
PhRMA lobbied on multiple aspects of the health care overhaul, including funding for specific reform provisions, a proposal requiring research comparing effectiveness of different drugs and other medical treatments, and bills to allow approval of generic versions of expensive biologic drugs.
The group also lobbied on several healthcare-related parts of the 2010 federal budget, including funding for both the National Institutes of Health, and the Food and Drug Administration. It lobbied on reform of patent laws, trade infringement, international patent protection and importation of drugs from countries where they cost less.
The group also lobbied on rules governing how companies promote prescription drugs to university instructors and researchers. It also addressed proposed requirements for disclosing consulting and speaking fees and other payments to physicians, which a handful of its members have begun doing.
Other lobbying targets included pricing of drugs sold under the Medicare and Medicaid programs, and proper disposal of unused drugs and related water quality issues, according to a disclosure report filed Oct. 20 with the House clerk's office.
Besides Congress, PhRMA lobbied the Department of Health and Human Services and several of its agencies, including the FDA and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, plus the White House, National Economic Council, Office of Management and Budget, Commerce Department, State Department, Patent and Trademark Office, Office of National Drug Control Policy and U.S. Trade Representative.
Among those registered to lobby on the trade group's behalf in the third quarter were PhRMA President and CEO Billy Tauzin, a former Republican congressman from Louisiana who served until 2005 as chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which regulates the pharmaceutical industry.
Others included: Leah Fisher, former legislative assistant to Rep. Bob Etheridge, D-N.C.; Anne Pritchett, former senior policy analyst in the White House Drug Policy Office and the Executive Office of the President; Gregory Gierer, former legislative assistant to Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., and former staff assistant to Rep. Rosa De Lauro, D-Conn.; Daniel Durham, who held several government positions, including acting deputy assistant secretary of health policy in the Department of Health and Human Services; Jennifer Swenson, former deputy legislative director for Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan.; and David Boyer, who had served in about a half-dozen positions in the FDA, the White House and elsewhere.