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Drug Makers to Spend More on Lobbying Thanks to Pricing Pressure

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There is tremendous pressure on the drug industry in terms of pricing, generic medicines, and trade from the current administration of Donald Trump. As a result, the industry has to keep spending more on lobbying thus setting a fresh record in the first three months of the current year alone. For its part, the administration indicated its plans to seek input from consumers, companies, and others apart from considering regulatory actions. The insurance firms have also increased their lobbying efforts to stabilize the healthcare insurance market.

Quarterly Record

Based on a filing with the government, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America have spent about $9.96 million on lobbying, according to BloombergQuint. This is a quarterly record as the trade group spent nearly $2 million more from the previous year quarter, which also set a record for the quarter. This came on the backdrop of Trump’s repeated promise to bring down drug prices that was increasing much to the dislike of the drug manufacturers.

Aside from the trade body, there are companies like Bayer Corp., Sanofi US, AbbVie Inc., Novo Nordisk A/S and Celgene Corp that have spent more money on lobbying. As a result, their spending level hits a fresh high. Incidentally, corporate or trade bodies disclosed about lobbying spent only twice in a year until the year 2008. Lobbying is nothing new in the United States, and the health sector was ranked the second top in the lobbying between the periods 1998 – 2010.

PhRMA has lobbied against legislation that enabled stopping of drug manufacturers from denying generic-drug firms the capacity to study their products since that would allow them to enter the market with the low-cost drug. Significantly, the measure came close to being added in budget legislation that was passed by Congress in February. Though the company has won the battle, it has to suffer a rare loss. That was because lawmakers had to make changes in respect of formula for Medicare prescription drug benefit to raise funds for the budget measure.

As a result, drug manufacturers were made to provide big discounts to patients who had higher bills. Incidentally, Trump has been vociferous in bringing down drug prices and asked his administration to look at the possibilities of doing that. The president’s attempt has allowed a group to work on a plan that is expected to be announced later this month.

Tariffs Issues

These apart, there were also lobbies for intellectual property, as well as, trade. That was because the American president has indicated renegotiation with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and other agreements. This apart, there was a threat of tariffs on imported products from China. Therefore, PhRMA has been engaged in lobbying for more than one issue.

As far as insurers are concerned, America’s Health Insurance Plans, a trade group, has spent $2.28 million in the first quarter for lobbying compared to $1.65 million in the previous year period. The sector is pushing for stabilizing the Obamacare insurance market. The insurance firms wanted Congress to provide money to States to fund most expensive care.

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