Healthcare lobbying cools down one year after reform law's passage

Other industry groups — including pharmaceuticals, hospitals and physicians — are spending well below last year's first quarter levels, even if they're within the historical average.

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, for example, spent $4.54 million on lobbying in the first quarter, down 35 percent from the $7 million spent in the early months of 2010. But industry officials say those numbers are in line with pre- and post-reform spending, which was back down to $4.9 million last quarter.

"We continue to focus our efforts on public policies that improve patient care and access to medicines, foster medical innovation and support U.S.-based biopharmaceutical jobs," a PhRMA official told The Hill.

The Biotechnology Industry Organization, meanwhile, reported spending $2.2 million, the same amount the group spent in the first quarter of 2010.

Individual drugmakers have boosted their lobbying spending since last quarter: Pfizer spent $3.79 million versus $2.59 million last quarter (and $5.86 million in the first quarter of 2010); Merck spent $3.56 million versus $1.29 million last quarter; Eli Lilly is at $2.47 million from $1.45 million; and Abbott is up to $1.47 million from $1.75 million.

The Federation of American Hospitals is spending less. It spent $550,000 this quarter, 30 percent less than the $790,000 spent this time last year but about the same as last quarter's $580,000.

Ditto for physicians. The American Medical Association spent $4.25 million this time and $4.93 million last quarter versus $6.15 million in the first quarter of last year.