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Pfizer Spent $5.6M Lobbying Government in the Fourth Quarter

Tue, 03/23/2010 - 5:26am

WASHINGTON (AP) — Pfizer Inc., the world's biggest drug maker, spent $5.6 million lobbying federal leaders and agencies in the fourth quarter on multiple aspects of the health care overhaul, government spending on medication and other issues, according to a quarterly disclosure report.

The maker of impotence pill Viagra, cholesterol blockbuster Lipitor and antidepressant Effexor spent 72 percent more on lobbying in the fourth quarter than a year earlier, when its lobbying cost $3.25 million.

Besides Congress, Pfizer lobbied the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the White House, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the departments of Commerce, State, Treasury, Defense, Veterans Affairs and Health and Human Services.

Among those registered to lobby on the trade group's behalf in the third quarter was Maria Cino, who previously served as a chief of staff in the House of Representatives and a deputy secretary in the Transportation Department, among other government positions.

Issues that New York-based Pfizer lobbied on included:

— requiring research comparing the effectiveness of medications and other types of treatment;

— veterans health;

— health information technology

— health insurance and

— prices and rebates for drugs bought through government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.

According to Pfizer's Jan. 20 disclosure report filed with the House clerk's office, it also lobbied on proposed requirements to disclose consulting fees and other payments to physicians — something it has promised to start doing early this year — and on allowing generic versions of expensive biologic drugs.

The bill passed Sunday by the House bars generic competition for 12 years, a delay sought by makers of biologic drugs, which include Pfizer ever since its October purchase of drug maker Wyeth.

Much of Pfizer's lobbying focused on bills that could lead to greater use of medicines the company makes, including the reauthorization of the State Children's Health Insurance Program, known as S-CHIP.

Pfizer, which makes smoking-cessation drug Chantix, lobbied on tobacco control legislation and coverage for smoking-cessation treatment. It also lobbied on restrictions on sales of the cough-medicine ingredient dextromethorphan, which is included in over-the-counter medicines such as Robitussin, made by its new Wyeth unit. Pfizer also lobbied Congress on issues related to its purchase of Wyeth, for which it paid $68 billion — the biggest deal in the pharmaceutical industry last year.

Pfizer, which makes antibiotics such as Zithromax, lobbied on two bills related to the growing problem of germs becoming resistant to antibiotics. The maker of cancer drug Sutent also lobbied on a House bill concerning parity for coverage of cancer drugs.

It also lobbied on U.S. patent reform and on international patent, market access and regulatory issues involving the European Union and about 20 other countries. In addition, it lobbied on corporate tax issues and extension of a research and development tax credit popular in the pharmaceutical industry.

The company also lobbied on federal budget bills and international tax issues.

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