Friday, April 07, 2006

Money in politics and your prescriptions

Drug industry spends millions on US states: report
Thu Apr 6, 2006 3:13 AM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The pharmaceutical industry spent $44 million lobbying U.S. state officials during a two-year period with much of the money going to fight proposals that would have reduced prescription drug costs, according to report released on Thursday.

The Center for Public Integrity said industry representatives spent the money in 2003 and 2004, a time when more than half of all states were considering proposals to reduce the cost of medicines. Prescription medicines are one of the fastest-growing expenses for state governments, which are among the pharmaceutical industry's biggest customers, the report said.

The investigative research center analyzed lobbyist disclosure documents and records from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) as well as conducted interviews with current and former state representatives.

PhRMA, the drug industry's main trade group, spent more than $4.5 million during 2003 and 2004. Four major drugmakers -- Eli Lilly and Co., GlaxoSmithKline Plc., Pfizer Inc. and Johnson & Johnson -- each spent $3 million.

Overall, more than 40 percent of the $44 million was spent in three large states that spend the most on prescription medicines -- California, New York and Texas, according to the report funded by The Nathan Cummings Foundation, the Joyce Foundation and the Ford Foundation. Read on...


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