2.3 lobbyists for every lawmaker

Report: Big Pharma has 2.3 lobbyists for every lawmaker

Drugmakers’ victories in Washington could keep health costs high, trade office warns

The pharmaceutical industry spent $110 million in just the first half of 2009 in its efforts to influence health care reform, part of a booming lobbying effort that now has 2.3 drug lobbyists on Capitol Hill for every member of Congress, a new investigative report reveals.

Writing in Time magazine, Karen Tumulty and Michael Scherer report that Big Pharma’s efforts to protect their interests in health care reform amounts to an expenditure of $609,000 per day, and “they’re getting a pretty good return on their investment,” Tumulty told CNN’s John King on Thursday.

“It’s not just the lobbyists,” Tumulty said. “The money goes into a lot of other things. It finances a lot of so-called research, expert reports, consultant reports. A lot of do-good organizations are springing up with names that sound like quite beneficial organizations, but you look at them and it turns out the whole thing is being run by drug companies.”

As evidence of drugmakers’ clout on the Hill, Tumulty pointed to a major victory for the group earlier this summer, when the House and Senate voted to extend patent protection of biotechnology drugs — biologics, as they are known — by an additional 12 years.

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