PHARMACY

Study: pharmaceutical lobbying increased by one-third in 2007

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON According to a Center for Public Integrity analysis, pharmaceutical trade groups and manufacturers spent a record $168 million on lobbying in 2007. This figure represents a 32 percent jump over 2006 and brings the decade total to more than $1 billion, according to the Senate Office of Public Records.

The top issues lobbied in 2007 included blocking the importation of drugs, extending pharmaceutical patents, obtaining greater access of U.S. drugs in international free trade agreements, and preventing Congress from limiting direct-to-consumer ads. More than 90 percent of the spending on lobbying was by 40 drug companies and three trade groups—the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the Biotechnology Industry Organization and the Advanced Medical Technology Association.

PhRMA led the drug industry trade groups in lobbying with close to $23 million spent in 2007, a 26 percent rise from 2006. Among the drug companies, Amgen took the top spot with $16.2 million, followed by Pfizer at $13.8 million. Other big drug company spenders included Roche Holding ($9 million), Sanofi-aventis ($8.4 million), GlaxoSmithKline ($8.2 million), and Johnson & Johnson ($7.7 million).

“As the biggest lobby on the Hill, the pharmaceutical industry wields tremendous influence that impacts everything from prescriptions to patents,” said Center Executive Director Bill Buzenberg. “The central point is that their massive spending has been highly successful, largely producing the political results the drug industry wants.”

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FDA issues final approval for Perrigo’s generic Zyrtec

BY Alaric DeArment

ALLEGAN, Mich. The Food and Drug Administration has given approval to Perrigo to manufacture and market cetirizine hydrochloride syrup in 1mg per milliliter strength.

The syrup, a generic version of McNeil Consumer Healthcare’s Zyrtec syrup, relieves symptoms of allergic rhinitis.

“This approval reflects both our strategy to be first to market with important products and the unique position of the company both in front of and behind the pharmacy counter,” Perrigo Chairman and chief executive officer Joseph Papa said.

Pfizer, which originally marketed Zyrtec, reported that it had sales of $1 billion in 2007. Pfizer lost U.S. exclusivity for Zyrtec in January, according to its annual report.

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Nestea introduces green tea with higher antioxidant concentration

BY Adam Kraemer

ATLANTA Iced Tea brand Nestea announced today the launch of its new Green Tea Citrus and Diet Green Tea Citrus products with 50 percent more antioxidants than before, as well as a brand new look.

The new varieties combine all-natural fruit flavors and the natural goodness of tea, largely in response to consumer health awareness. Both products now contain 50 percent more natural tea antioxidants, with 96 milligrams of flavonoid antioxidants per eight fluid ounce serving.

“As summer approaches, it is the perfect time to introduce products for consumers who want to quickly revitalize their day,” said Penny McIntyre, senior vice president and general manager of coffee and tea for Coca-Cola North America. “Nestea offers delicious, simple blends of tea and natural fruit flavors. Our new Green Tea Citrus products with even more antioxidants are great additions to our line of refreshing teas.”

The new packaging features dynamic graphics that call attention to the antioxidant content and all-natural fruit flavors. Nestea’s Iced Tea with Lemon and Diet Iced Tea with Lemon flavors come in 20 ounce and half-liter plastic bottle 12-packs. The Iced Tea with Lemon also comes in aluminum cans (regular and diet) and 2-liter plastic bottles (regular).

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