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Intense lobbying has paid off for Amgen

Intense lobbying has paid off for Amgen, the world’s largest biotechnology company, who have been able to evade Medicare cost-cutting controls.

Senators playing a major role in federal health care financing have aided Amgen in their evasion by delaying price restraints on a class of drugs used by kidney dialysis patients, including Sensipar, which is made by Amgen.

The provision was inserted into the final fiscal bill by Senate aides. Many members of Congress did not know it was in the bill until just hours before it was approved.

Other companies will benefit financially from the delay but Amgen (who have 74 lobbyists in Washington) was the only company to lobby aggressively for the provision. The delay will cost the Medicare program up to $500 million over a period of two years.

Amgen’s voice was heard even though the company pleaded guilty just weeks ago to marketing an anti-anemia drug illegally and agreed to pay criminal and civil penalties of $762 million, a record settlement for a biotechnology company.

Friends in high places perhaps?