The pharmaceutical industry spent $168 million lobbying Congress in 2007 — a record sum that helped influence legislation and prevented new restrictions on drug advertisements, the Center for Public Integrity reports.
Industry spending on lobbying has tripled since 1998, adding up to more than a $1 billion total in that time.
CIR reports that 90 percent of the spending was by 40 companies and three industry groups, including Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the Biotechnology Industry Organization, and the Advanced Medical Technology Association.
The big spending in 2007 may have been spurred in part by the Democratic takeover of Congress in November 2006, which saw industry critics, such as Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), ascend to leadership positions formerly occupied by Republicans.
However, Ken Johnson, a spokesman for PhRMA, told CIR that a “difficult political environment” in Washington was not a result of partisanship.
“We don’t look at it through the prism of Democrats and Republicans. We look at it in terms of those who support free market policies and those who don’t,” he said.
The CIR report found that pharmaceutical lobbying targeted at Democrats has “dramatically” increased, and in 2008, “for the first time on record,” has exceeded spending on Republicans.