Drugmakers continue to pour dollars into Washington coffers as the debate over healthcare reform shows no sign of stopping. New numbers from lobbying reports filed yesterday show that PhRMA ploughed $6.2 million into lobbying during the second quarter. Pfizer spent more than any other individual drugmaker at $5.6 million. As the Washington Post reports, some 22 healthcare associations and companies spent $1 million or more during the quarter--and half of them were pharma.
Here's how the industry lobbied: After PhRMA and Pfizer comes Eli Lilly with $3.6 million; GlaxoSmithKline with $2.3 million; Bayer at $1.9 million; Novartis for $1.8 million; Sanofi-Aventis U.S. with $1.6 million; Johnson & Johnson with $1.6 million; Merck at $1.5 million; Roche at $1.5 millon; and AstraZeneca at $1.2 million. Grand total of PhRMA and Big Pharma? $28.8 million.
Of course drugmakers have reason to want a seat at the table: Lawmakers are considering all sorts of ways to cut healthcare costs, including cuts to Medicare, drug-price negotiation, generic biologic meds, and more. Already Big Pharma made an $80 billion pledge to cut costs in aid of reform, hoping to gain enough goodwill to keep other cuts at bay.
Interestingly, on the other side of the table in that $80 billion deal was Sen. Max Baucus, who heads up the Senate Finance Committee, which is the epicenter of reform negotiations at this point. Small wonder, then, that Baucus's campaign committee and PAC have been among the biggest recipients of healthcare dollars. Though he stopped taking healthcare PAC money in June, he's still accepting donations from pharma execs--such as Merck chief Richard Clark--and from lobbyists.