Medicines Co. amps up Angiomax lobbying

The Medicines Company is lobbying Congress. No big surprise, right? Drugmakers have been ploughing record amounts of cash into health-reform advocacy on Capitol Hill. But in Medicines Co.'s case, the full-court press isn't for reform, but for something much more specific: a patent extension on its anti-coagulant Angiomax.

Medicines applied for a standard patent extension back in 2001, but it missed the deadline. By one day. So instead of getting the routine extension--which would have covered Angiomax until 2014--the company's patent was set to expire in 2010. Four years of brand exclusivity is a big deal, revenue-wise. The company estimates it would gain $1 billion with the extra time.

So it's no wonder Medicines started pleading for mercy immediately after losing that four years. The company has ramped up efforts quite a bit as 2010 approaches. The Washington Examiner notes that the company has 16 lobbying firms on retainer for the purpose, and it has paid one of them--run by former House leader Dick Gephardt--some $410,000 over the past nine months. The goal: Legislative language that would apply a three-day grace period to patent-filing deadlines.

- read the Examiner piece