Biopharma ramps up lobbying spend as drug pricing legislation nears
The top biopharma companies in the world collectively spent more than $40 million in just the first quarter of 2021 on lobbying Congress as part of preparations to stave off major drug pricing legislation that’s expected later this year.
Although the numbers are not dramatically higher than what the companies collectively spent in the first quarter of 2020, some like GlaxoSmithKline, Teva, Merck and Johnson & Johnson have already increased their quarterly lobbying spend in 2021 by about $1 million more each when compared to recent quarters in 2020.
Other companies like Horizon Therapeutics, which would struggle to survive without high drug prices, ramped up its lobbying spend in Q1 2021 by about $700,000 when compared to the same quarter last year.
The ramp up comes as Congress prepares to add drug pricing provisions to help pay for an infrastructure bill. What those provisions will entail remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, one of President Joe Biden’s top counselors, Steve Ricchetti, who golfed with Biden last Saturday in Wilmington, saw the firm he founded continue to profit in 2021 from an odd assortment of biopharma players, including Horizon, GSK, Neurocrine Biosciences and oral Covid-19 vaccine developer Vaxart.
Here’s a rundown of what some of the top biopharma companies spent in the first quarter of 2021 on lobbying versus past quarters.