PhRMA lobbying spend increases 25% to $22 million for 2007

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PhRMA spent more than $22 million lobbying the federal government last year, nearly a 25% increase from the amount spent in 2006, disclosure records filed by the group last week show.

According to the records, PhRMA spent $12 million in the secondhalf of 2007 lobbying against efforts including a bill to allow federal government negotiaton of prices directly with drug companies and legislation that would allow citizens to purchase lower-cost Rx meds from Canada and other countries. Congress did not pass either bill.

In 2007, PhRMA also lobbied against a patent reform bill, which remains under consideration in the Senate, and a prescription drug safety bill, which became law last September but did not include restrictions on DTC ads.

"This seems to be a case where the increase in lobbying activity is defensive, not offensive," Massie Ritsch of the Center for Responsive Politics, a government watchdog group, told the Associated Press.

PhRMA SVP Ken Johnson said in a published report that while the industry faced many challenges on Capitol Hill last year, most of the increased spending went toward advertisements urging Congress to reauthorize a program that provides healthcare to poor children.
"We would like to see every person in America have health insurance," Johnson said.

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