How much? Pfizer leads top pharma companies' ramped up lobby spending on Congress
K Street saw another record year in 2021 for lobbying expenditures, and some of the biggest biopharma companies in the world shelled out millions to sway Congress, revealing some of their key priorities along the way.
Pfizer topped the list of the largest pharma companies in the latest quarter, spending nearly $3 million on lobbying in Q4, which is about half a million more than they spent in the same quarter a year earlier, but not quite as high as its Q1 2020 level of more than $4 million. In 2021, Pfizer spent more than $10.3 million, about half a million less than in 2020.
Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine competitor AstraZeneca and pharma heavyweight Novartis spent about $1.5 million each in the latest quarter on lobbying, which was also almost double the amount each spent during the same period the previous year.
Novartis listed the proposed new NIH agency, to be known as the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) as a focal point, as well as biosimilars, PDUFA VII priorities and Cures 2.0.
AbbVie spent nearly $1.3 million in the fourth quarter, ending the year spending about $1 million more in 2021 compared to 2020. It listed several individual bills as “specific lobbying issues,” including the Preserving Access to Affordable Generics and Biosimilars Act, which would limit “pay-for-delay” deals that prevent or delay generics, and another bill that went after product hopping.
GSK also spent more than $1 million more on lobbying in 2021 versus 2020.
Along with the individual companies, industry groups PhRMA and BIO also lobbied more heavily to capture Capitol Hill attention. PhRMA shelled out $7.2 million in the quarter, which was considerably more than the $5.1 million spent in Q4 2020, and BIO spent another $3.4 million, which was on par with past months.
As expected, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s HR 3 was featured atop the list of lobbying issues cited among the companies, as the bill would have introduced price negotiations in ways that could have cost industry hundreds of billions of dollars over several decades. The more watered-down version of those negotiations, which was included in the recently nixed (by Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who has said he does back negotiations) Build Back Better Act, which was also listed as a priority by just about every company.