Now we know who to blame. The pharmaceutical industry spent $800 million on federal lobbying and campaign contributions over the last seven years, according to a report released July 6, 2005, by the Center for Public Integrity. CPI reviewed more than 5,500 lobbying disclosure reports filed with the Senate Office of Public Records (Hallam, Bloomberg/Philadelphis Inquirer, 7/7/05). CPI found that the industry spent $116 million on lobbying and political campaigns in 2003, when Congress approved the prescription drug benefit under Medicare that bars Health and Human Services from negotiating drug prices with the industry. The industry spent $128 million in 2004 to lobby for such measures as tax breaks as part of a corporate tax relief bill (Freking, AP/Long Island Newsday, 7/7). CPI said that the industry also has lobbied to weaken FDA enforcement, strengthen patent protections and extensions and receive tax credits (Congressional Quarterly Healthbeat, 7/6). In addition, the report stated that the pharmaceutical industry employs 1,291 registered lobbyists – more lobbyists in Washington, D.C., than any other industry – more than half of whom were former U.S. officials (Bloomberg/Philadelphis Inquirer, 7/7). CPI found that more than 3,000 people over the past seven years have lobbied for the industry, including 75 former lawmakers. Those lawmakers include former Sens. Bob Dole (R-Kan.) and Lloyd Bentsen (D-Tx.), former Reps. Bob Livingston (R-La.) and Tom Foley (D-Wash.) and current Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America [PhRMA] president Billy Tauzin (R-La.) (AP/Long Island Newsday, 7/7). According to Bloomberg Inquirer, Tauzin was a “key architect” of the 2003 Medicare law.
Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report