Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Biotech industry group spent $1.9M lobbying in 3Q

Biotech industry group spent $1.9M lobbying in 3Q
Associated Press, 12.08.08, 12:48 PM EST

The Biotechnology Industry Organization, a lobbying and advocacy group for the biotech industry, spent more than $1.9 million lobbying the federal government in the third quarter, according to a recent disclosure form.

The group lobbied on a range of agricultural issues, including marketing and regulatory programs and risk assessment for cloned products, as well as on patent reform, biofuels, stem cells, and government reimbursement rates.

The group also has been at the forefront in the now stalled efforts to allow generic drug companies to make cheaper versions of biotech drugs. Currently, the Food and Drug Administration only has a system in place for approving generic versions of chemical-based drugs. Biotech drugs are made using living cells and are more complex.

Both generic drug developers and biotech companies are at odds over how a new system would work, with the length of patent protection for biotech drugs a key sticking point.

The trade group's members include some of the largest names in biotech, such as Genentech Inc. (nyse: DNA - news - people ) and Amgen Inc. (nasdaq: AMGN - news - people )

Besides Congress, the group lobbied the Department of Agriculture, FDA, Federal Trade Commission, and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, among other agencies, according to a form posted online Oct. 20 by the House clerk's office.

Those lobbying on behalf of the organization included: Patrick Carroll, a former legislative assistant to Rep. Ray LaHood, R-Ill.; Tooshar Swain, who was a legislative correspondent to former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa.; and Bill Olson, who used to work as a legislative assistant to Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill.

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