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Life Sciences Companies Spent Record Amount on Lobbying Efforts in 2007

Written by on Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

The Baltimore Business Journal is reporting that life sciences companies spent a record amount on lobbying efforts in 2007–some 32 percent more in 2007 than in 2006.

The Baltimore Business Journal reported:

The industry unleashed a $168 million lobbying effort last year, the largest among all sectors and 90 percent of which was dominated by three biotech and pharmaceutical trade groups and 40 global companies. . . . Among top company spenders were British-based AstraZeneca PLC, which owns Gaithersburg-based MedImmune and tallied $4.1 million in lobbying efforts, and Israel-based Teva Pharmaceuticals, which owns Rockville-based CoGenesys and tallied $2.3 million. Amgen Inc., based in Thousand Oaks, Calif., topped the company list with a $16.3 million total contribution last year.

As the California Biotech Law Blog previously reported, BIO spent $6.6 million in lobbying efforts in 2007.

According to The Baltimore Business Journal, the industry’s investment seems to “have paid off.”

Was the investment really dollars well spent?  Well, clearly the industry has had some success with respect to delaying the passage of patent reform legislation, which was largely viewed as being more favorable to high tech companies than biotech companies.  Likewise, the lobbying efforts seem to have had some success in the SBIR area, as we previously reported in a recent blog posting.  So, the industry has definitely seen some success in Washington this past year, although that success has not been felt uniformly across the board.

There is no doubt that having a voice in Washington is taking on increasing importance for the life sciences industry, particularly in light of the lobbying efforts of the technology world.  It seems likely that the industry’s investment in lobbying will continue to grow in the near future, as the topic of health care reform continues to be a key political issue and the interests of technology and life sciences companies continue to diverge.  As I’ve suggested before, however, it is rather stunning to consider how much money that has to be invested these days in order to maintain a presence in Washington politics: $168 million is certainly not pocket change.

Category: Biotech Industry News, Biotech Legislative Developments  |  Comments Off on Life Sciences Companies Spent Record Amount on Lobbying Efforts in 2007

BIO Spent $6.6 Million on Lobbying Efforts in 2007

Written by on Tuesday, April 8th, 2008

The Biotech Industry Organization ("BIO") spent $6.6 Million on lobbying efforts in 2007, reported the Associated Press.

BIO’s lobbying efforts last year addressed a range of issues from patent reform to generics to FDA-related issues.  The Associated Press reported as follows:

[BIO’s] lobbying efforts went toward cloning issues ahead of the Food and Drug Administration’s ruling that cloned meat and milk is safe for consumers. Several members of Congress tried to compel the agency to do more studies before issuing a ruling, but FDA cleared the products for consumption in January. 

The biotech industry also lobbied on legislation to allow the Food and Drug Administration to approve generic copies of biotech drugs. Generic drug companies already market cheaper versions of regular, chemical drugs, but the FDA does not have the authority to approve copies of biotech drugs, which are more complicated.  Biotech makers opposed a bill that would have made generic biotechs medically interchangeable with the originals. The industry also argued generic biotechs should be classified as similar, but not interchangeable.

They also want biotech medicines to be guaranteed at least 12 years on the market before having to compete with generic copies. Generic drug makers say any protection beyond five years is unreasonable. Senate lawmakers attempted to pass a compromise bill last year, but negotiations broke down over the length of exclusivity.

This report raises some interesting questions about how much various industries spend today on their Washington lobbying efforts.  One of the issues that has repeatedly come up in the patent reform debate is how minimal the biotech industry’s lobbying efforts are in contrast with the high tech industry.  The argument has been that the proposed patent reform legislation favors the high tech industry, which has traditionally had more of a voice and presence in Washington.  However, as this report makes clear, the biotech industry’s expenditures on lobbying–at least BIO’s expenditures on behalf of the industry–are not inconsequential.  So, this report begs the question: if biotech’s lobbying efforts pale in comparison to high tech’s lobbying efforts on Washington, just how much is the high technology industry spending on Washington lobbying?  What kind of lobbying money is considered adequate to have a voice in Washington?

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