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Baxter spent nearly $1M lobbying government in 2Q

Drug and medical device maker Baxter International Inc. spent $980,000 lobbying on health care issues in the second quarter, according to a recent disclosure report.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Drug and medical device maker Baxter International Inc. spent $980,000 lobbying on health care issues in the second quarter, according to a recent disclosure report.

The Deerfield, Ill.-based company lobbied on the health care bills moving through the House and Senate.

As the legislation takes shape in Congress, medical device manufacturers have focused on provisions that would task the federal government with comparing the effectiveness of different drugs, devices and medical procedures. The effort aims to cut out wasteful spending on ineffective treatments.

The company also lobbied on a bill designed to give the Food and Drug Administration the authority to approve generic versions of biotech drugs. Unlike traditional chemical drugs, biotech drugs have never faced generic competition because the FDA lacks authority to approve cheaper copies.

The biotech industry, which includes some large drugmakers like Baxter, has argued that its products must be protected for 12-14 years before competing with cheaper copies from generic companies. Executives say that period is necessary to recoup the costs of developing high-tech biologic medications.

Baxter lobbyists also advocated their position on a bill aimed at updating the U.S. patent system. The pharmaceutical and medical device industries have argued that reform efforts must not weaken patent protections on medical products by reducing infringement penalties. The reform effort has largely stalled in Congress.

Besides Congress, the company lobbied the Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security and the State Department, according to a July 20 filing with the House clerk's office.

Baxter's lobbyists included Jack Maniko, a former counsel to the House Energy and Commerce Committee; Deborah Williams, former staffer for the House Ways and Means Committee; and J.V. Schwan, former deputy chief of staff for the Department of Commerce.