The pharmaceutical industry spent $155 million on lobbying from January 2005 through June last year, according to our new study. The study revealed that the industry employed about 1,100 lobbyists last year, two for every member of Congress. Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the industry trade group, spent more than $18 million on lobbying last year alone, the most the group spent in one year since 1998.

Among the major issues that PhRMA and pharmaceutical companies lobbied were implementation of the Medicare Part D provision, drug importation, FDA reform, and drug patents. Many of the bills targeted by drug lobbyists were largely the result of public concerns over high drug prices and safety issues. The study also showed that the manufacturers of pharmaceuticals, medical devices and other health products spent at least $855 million on lobbying from 1998, through June last year. Most of it, or $733 million, was spent by drug manufacturers and their trade groups.

Twenty top drug companies (including their subsidiaries) and two industry trade groups spent a total of $605 million on lobbying during the study period. These groups spent at least another $50 million in the second half of 2006. (According to IMS Health, which compiles drug industry data, these 20 firms had a nearly 77 percent share of the $253 billion United States prescription drug market in 2005.)