Big Pharma Shrinks Peddling of Big Influence
In the first quarter of 2013, the pharmaceuticals and health products industry spent more than $66.5 million on lobbying -- more than any other industry, according to OpenSecrets.org data.
But Big Pharma's lobbying efforts in the second quarter were significantly smaller; at least two companies spent less than half what they paid out from January through March.
Second quarter lobbying reports from each one of the 10 companies that spent the most in the first three months of the year all show decreases in lobbying spending.
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, a trade group representing drug companies, spent $5.3 million lobbying in the first quarter. But that dipped in the second quarter to $4.4 million.
Lobbying was also down for Merck & Co., which spent the second largest amount on lobbying early in the year, $4.19 million. Merck's spending plunged to just $900,000 for April through June, less than one-fourth of its previous level.
Novartis, which placed third in lobbying spending in the first quarter, spent slightly more than Merck this time around. But its $1.1 million devoted to lobbying is nowhere near the more than $3.24 million the group spent in the first quarter.
The other top lobbying spenders in the pharmaceutical and health product industry last quarter -- Pfizer, Eli Lilly & Co., Sanofi, Amgen, Biotechnology Industry Organization, Bayer, and AstraZeneca -- all spent less in the second quarter.
The companies share many policy concerns, according to their lobbying reports.
All except Amgen and Bayer lobbied on various issues involving Part D of Medicare, the outpatient prescription drug subsidy plan for Medicare recipients.
In addition, many companies lobbied on the 340B Drug Discount Program, which requires drug manufacturers to sell prescription drugs at a decreased cost to safety net healthcare providers.
The implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was commonly lobbied by these groups as well. In 2009, the year the ACA was being debated, the pharmaceutical and health product industry spent more than $271 million on lobbying.
Big Pharma was still the top industry when it came to lobbying spending in 2012, but the industry has shrunk its spending for that activity ever since, as the second quarter reports show.
Image: Pill image via BigStockPhoto.com.