Drug Industry and HMOs Deployed an Army of Nearly
Study Shows Special Interests Spent $141 Million
in 2003, Hired 431 Lobbyists With
WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 2004) In the final push for Medicare prescription drug legislation, the pharmaceutical industry, HMOs and related interests spent more money and hired more lobbyists in 2003 than ever before, according to a report issued today by Public Citizen.
The pharmaceutical and managed care industries spent a combined $141 million last year, according to Public Citizens analysis of newly released federal lobbying disclosure records. Drugmakers and HMOs hired 952 individual lobbyists in 2003 nearly half of whom had revolving door connections to Congress, the White House or the executive branch. Thats nearly 10 lobbyists for every U.S. senator.
The Medicare Modernization Act, a top priority of President Bush, promises to safeguard industry profits at the expense of Americas taxpayers, said Frank Clemente, director of Public Citizens Congress Watch. Considering the legion of lobbyists unleashed by pharmaceutical companies, HMOs and allied industry front groups, no wonder taxpayers ended up with a bill tailor-made to serve these special interests instead of senior citizens.
Since 1997, Public Citizen has conducted an annual study of Washington lobbying by the pharmaceutical industry. Todays report, The Medicare Drug War, exposes the extent of the drug industrys latest lobbying barrage. Among its findings:
Both the pharmaceutical and managed care industries relied heavily on lobbyists with revolving door connections. In all, 431 lobbyists employed by the drug industry or HMOs or 45 percent of all their lobbyists previously worked for the federal government. Among them were 30 ex-U.S. senators and representatives 18 Republicans and 12 Democrats.
The revolving door between the White House and K Street has made the Bush administration indistinguishable from the industry, said Craig Aaron, senior researcher for Public Citizens Congress Watch and lead author of the report. If it wasnt bad enough that most of the key negotiators working on the Medicare bill were preparing to cash in on K Street as soon as it passed, Bush has brought in more drug industry and HMO insiders to implement and promote this disastrous new law.