Drug Makers' Big Spending Pays Off on Hill
Biologics debate shows how lobbyists shape health debate
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 22, 2009 12:33 PM CDT
James Greenwood, president and chief executive officer of the Biotechnology Industry Organization, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 1, 2008.   (AP Photo/Brendan Hoffman)
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(Newser) – Drugmakers could get quite a gift from the health care reform bill. Senate and House amendments passed this summer give the makers of biologics—next-generation wonder drugs derived from living matter—12 years of exclusivity on their hyperexpensive products. That’s 7 more years than normal drugs get, and critics say it’ll cost consumers hundreds of billions of dollars. But the industry's deep pockets buy a lot of influence, Time reports.

The drug industry has spent more than $110 million on influencing Congress this year, employing an average 2.3 lobbyists for every legislator on the Hill. The network extends into think tanks, advocacy groups, and more. “You can't get on the phone with someone who isn't getting paid,” says one biologist. “They give money to everyone and anyone.”