WASHINGTON (AP) ¿ Pfizer Inc., the world's biggest drugmaker, spent $5.4 million lobbying the government in the third quarter on topics including the health care overhaul, government spending on medication, and patent and trade issues, according to a quarterly disclosure report. The maker of cholesterol fighter Lipitor, impotence pill Viagra and nerve pain treatment Lyrica spent 75 percent more on lobbying than its $3.1 million outlay in the year-ago period. New York-based Pfizer lobbied on legislation on numerous issues involving the federal health care overhaul. Those included health insurance, prices paid for drugs bought through government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, information technology, allowing generic versions of expensive biologic drugs, and requiring research comparing the effectiveness of medications and other types of treatment. Much of its lobbying focused on bills that could lead to greater use of medicines the company makes, including the reauthorization of the State Children's Health Insurance Program, and on veterans' health care issues. The maker of smoking-cessation drug Chantix also lobbied on coverage for programs to help people quit smoking. Pfizer, which makes antibiotics such as Zithromax, lobbied on two bills related to the growing problem of germs becoming resistant to antibiotics. The maker of cancer drug Sutent also lobbied on a House bill concerning parity for coverage of cancer drugs,
It also lobbied on U.S. patent reform and on international patent, market access and regulatory issues involving about 20 countries. In addition, it lobbied on corporate tax issues and extension of a research and development tax credit popular in the pharmaceutical industry. The company also lobbied on the federal stimulus package and budget bills, and on international tax issues, according to a disclosure report filed Oct. 20 with the House clerk's office. Besides Congress, Pfizer lobbied the White House, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the departments of Commerce, State, Treasury, Defense, Veterans Affairs and Health and Human Services. Among those registered to lobby on the trade group's behalf in the third quarter was Maria Cino, a former chief of staff in the House of Representatives and a former deputy secretary in the Transportation Department. Pfizer solidified its position as the world's top pharmaceutical company by revenue with its $68 billion purchase of Wyeth on Oct. 15. Wyeth reported spending $682,000 on lobbying in the third quarter, mainly on similar issues. It also lobbied on several topics specific to its products or to drugs it has in development, including childhood immunizations, care for patients with Alzheimer's, dietary supplements and regulation of pseudoephedrine, an ingredient in its Dimetapp cold medicine that can be used to make methamphetamine.