Processing Magazine

Merck spent nearly $1.2 million lobbying government in second quarter

August 13, 2008

The Associated Press reports that drugmaker Merck & Co. Inc. spent nearly $1.2 million lobbying on pharmaceutical issues in the second quarter, according to a recent disclosure form. Merck lobbied Congress on a range of domestic and international issues affecting sales of prescription drugs, according to a form filed July 18 with the House clerk''s office. The Whitehouse Station, N.J.-based company opposed a proposal by House Democrats that would have allowed the government to negotiate drug prices for seniors in Medicare. Currently, private health insurers negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies and offer various plans to seniors. Merck also opposed a patent reform bill moving through Congress. High-tech companies support the bill that passed the House last year, saying it would cut down on frivolous patent-infringement lawsuits. But the pharmaceutical industry has argued it will weaken patent protections on drugs by reducing infringement penalties. The bill has stalled in the Senate and is not expected to pass this year.