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According to a report
released today the pharmaceutical industry was once again the largest lobbying presence in Washington in 2007. Collectively the industry dumped some $168
million into lobbying efforts. This is up by 32 percent from a year ago.
Over the past decade drug and medical device companies have easily spent over
$1 billion on lobbying.

More than 90 percent of the total was spent by 40 companies
and three trade groups: the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of
America (PhRMA),
the Biotechnology
Industry Organization
, and the Advanced Medical Technology Association.

The largest spender among individual pharmaceutical
companies was Amgen with $16.2 million followed by Pfizer at $13.8 million.

Collectively these millions in contributions go to promoting
the agenda of the industry at large. The main interests here are to ensure that
less expensive medications are not imported from other countries, to ensure that patent rights
of medications developed by pharmaceutical companies are protected to the
fullest extent, and to obtain even greater access to international markets
through the expansion of free trade policies.

Big Pharma is a force like no other. They have billions of
dollars to contribute to their cause and that cause is to make
billions more. It is a perpetual machine that grows larger and larger each year
with no end in sight. In the near future something must be done to reduce the power of these giants, and get our lawmakers to start making more decisions on behalf of their constituents, not the company with the deepest pockets.


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