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Pfizer Opened Its Wallet For Lobbying In 2009

Pfizer Opened Its Wallet For Lobbying In 2009 [The Day, New London, Conn.]

From Day, The (New London, CT) (March 24, 2010)

Mar. 24--Pfizer Inc., fighting to get its merger with Wyeth Pharmaceuticals approved and supporting an overhaul of the nation’s health care system, nearly doubled the money it spent on lobbying in 2009 compared to the year before.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Pfizer spent $21.9 million on lobbying last year, compared with $12.2 million in 2008. Pfizer’s lobbying bill placed it sixth on the list of Top 10 lobbyists for 2009; the year before, it didn’t even reach the Top 20.

A filing with the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives showed Pfizer spent $5.6 million on lobbying in the fourth quarter of last year, compared with $3.25 million in the same period of 2008. Its fourth-quarter lobbying was a $170,000 increase from the previous reporting period.

According to the quarterly lobbying report, Pfizer’s legislative efforts focused on bills that would improve the company’s bottom line, such as the Family Smoking and Prevention and Tobacco Control Act in which the company sought to include under Veterans Administration drug coverage such treatments as its own smoking-cessation pill Chantix. In the historic national health care reform passed Sunday, the company’s lobbying paid dividends as a provision to delay generic-drug competition for biologic medicines for 12 years passed as part of the bill.

Pfizer’s merger with Wyeth, finalized in October 2009, brought a broad range of biologic drugs into its pipeline.

Pfizer’s lobbying is apart from the amount spent by other drug companies and the Pharmaceutical Researchers & Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), a drug-industry group that by itself spent $26.2 million backing measures favorable to pharmaceutical firms. Jeffrey B. Kindler, Pfizer’s chairman and chief executive, is the president of PhRMA this year.

In addition to lobbying Congress, Pfizer made pitches on various regulatory measures to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the White House, the U.S. departments of Health & Human Services, Defense, VA, Treasury, State, and the Patent & Trademark Office.

Total lobbying costs for all industries reported last year hit a record $3.47 billion, an increase of more than 5 percent from the year before and more than double what it cost just eight years previously.

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Posted: March 2010