Lobbyists get $47.4M windfall from pharma

We thought Big Pharma was lobbying hard ahead of last year's presidential election. Drugmakers spent millions on their lobbyists, even as they ploughed millions into the campaigns, for the first time splitting their votes fairly evenly between Democrats and Republicans. But even so, pharma's spending on lobbying leapt during the first quarter by 36 percent, to $47.4 million.

You can bet the lobbyists are grateful. According to the Wall Street Journal, pharma is one of the few industries to boost lobbying expenses during this economic downturn. Overall lobbying is relatively flat year-over-year, so drugmakers are handing out a bigger piece of the spending pie. Of course pharma has plenty at stake these days. With the Obama administration intent on reforming healthcare and trimming spending on it, drugmakers stand to lose plenty.

Among the biggest pharma lobbyists: Pfizer, with $6.1 million plunked down during the first quarter, up from $2.8 million the same quarter last year. Then there's PhRMA, the trade association, which spent $6.9 million, almost double the $3.6 million it spent last year. Bayer, GlaxoSmithKline and Merck each boosted their lobbying spending by at least 40 percent year-over-year.

- read the WSJ report