Biotech drugmaker Genzyme Corp. spent $750,000 lobbying the federal government in the fourth quarter, according to a recent disclosure form.
Genzyme, based in Cambridge, Mass., develops treatments aimed at rare diseases. It joined the biotechnology industry in lobbying for market competition protections on biosimilar drugs. The company increased lobbying spending by 14 percent from $658,000 during the same period in 2008.
Congress is poised to approve measures that will give new biotechnology drugs 12 years of competitive protection from biosimilars, signaling a victory for the industry. Consumer groups and the generic industry had been pushing for a shorter period, saying it would better help bring down costs for patients and increase competition.
Biosimilars are the generic equivalent of biotech-based drugs.
Biotech companies had been lobbying for as much as 14 years of competition-free protection for new drugs while generic drug developers have been lobbying for a shorter period, closer to the current system of five years for chemical-based compounds.
The Food and Drug Administration regulates the approval of generic drugs made from chemical compounds, but does not have a system in place for similar versions of biotech drugs, which are developed using more complicated, living cells.
The company also lobbied on issues including Medicare reimbursement, payments to physicians, and tax credits during the October to December period.
Genzyme lobbied both chambers of Congress, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the Department of Health according to the form filed Jan. 20 with the House clerk's office.