Wednesday, April 4, 2007

How much is that Congressman in the window?... the question that might be easily answered by the Pharmaceutical companies and their trade associations; they spent a record $155 million lobbying Congress from January 2005 through June 2006, according to a study released on Sunday by the Center for Public Integrity, Bloomberg/Chicago Tribune reports (Bloomberg/Chicago Tribune, 4/3).

Drug makers dispatched about 1,100 agents to lobby congressional committees and administration offices during each of the last two years, the study found. The drug industry was successful in achieving some of its major goals, such as upholding a government ban on the reimportation of prescription drugs, according to the study.

The drug industry also was successful in blocking legislation that would have allowed the federal government to negotiate prescription drug prices for Medicare, the report found.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the "battles are expected to be fought more fiercely this year" with a Democratic majority in Congress.

Here is the tool for Democratic Congress that I've introduced earlier this year--Pharmaceutical Ethical Marketing & Manufacturing (PEMM©) Index, which is a ratio of the R&D budget to the Marketing & Administration & Lobbying budgets by each Pharma company across all product lines (% of, or actual expenditures).

Currently, the industry-wide PEMM© index is around 0.35. It means that only 35 cents of each Pharma dollars goes to actual reseach and development. The remaining 65 cents of each dollar is spent on marketing, lobbying and administration. This index will serve as rough, but sorely needed, guide for health consumers and providers.

Let's see if the Pharma companies dare to disclose their index to Congress and to Americans!

Shame on Americans for allowing the rip-off by pharmaceutical companies protected by Congress!

Be Well

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