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The Pharmaceutical lobby, also known as the "drug lobby," refers to the paid representatives of large pharmaceutical and biomedicine companies who seek to influence government policy.
Additional recommended knowledge
Political influence in the U.S.
The top twenty pharmaceutical companies and their two trade groups, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and Biotechnology Industry Organization, lobbied on at least 1,600 pieces of legislation between 1998 and 2004. According to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics, pharmaceutical companies spent $900 million on lobbying between 1998 and 2005, more than any other industry. During the same period, they donated $89.9 million to federal candidates and political parties, giving approximately three times as much to Republicans as to Democrats. According to the Center for Public Integrity, from January 2005 through June 2006 alone, the pharmaceutical industry spent approximately $182 million on Federal lobbying. The industry has 1,274 registered lobbyists in Washington D.C. 
Prescription drug costs
Critics of the Pharmaceutical lobby argue that the drug industry's influence allows it to promote legislation friendly to drug manufacturers at the expense of patients. The lobby's influence in securing the passage of the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 was considered a major and controversial victory for the industry, as it prevents the government from negotiating prices with drug companies who provide those prescription drugs covered by Medicare. As a result, 61 percent of Medicare spending on prescription drugs is direct profit for pharmaceutical companies.
The high price of U.S. prescription drugs has been a source of ongoing controversy. Corporations claim the high costs are the result of pricey research and development programs, while critics point out, in addition to the industry's profits, the high proportion of pharmaceutical budgets devoted to marketing and lobbying. According to Marcia Angell, the former head of the New England Journal of Medicine, "The United States is the only advanced country that permits the pharmaceutical industry to charge exactly what the market will bear." 
Influence over doctors
The pharmaceutical industry's sponsoring of clinical research has come under increasing scrutiny in recent years, as authors of publications favorable to the industry often receive compensation from major drug companies, thereby raising doubts about their research's objectivity.   Additionally, advocacy groups within and beyond the medical profession have asserted that direct advertising to physicians, free samples, and research stipends encourage doctors to overprescribe medications.   
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Pharmaceutical_lobby". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|