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article imageHealth care lobbyists wrote statements for Democrats, Republicans

By Andrew Moran     Nov 17, 2009 in Politics
After President Barack Obama's health care reform iniatitive passed the House of Representatives, a New York Times report suggests that lobbyists wrote statements for both Democrats and Republicans in the debates.
It is has been general knowledge that Democrats and Republicans have a cozy relationship with corporations, at least according to a poll from March, so it may have been no surprise to some that the biotechnology firm, Genentech, ghostwrote statements for dozens of Democrats and Republicans, according to a report by the New York Times.
A large number of Democrats praised the near 2,000 page bill’s provisions that would help create jobs, health care and drug research, which would generally be created by a firm like Genentech. Republicans would also give accolades to the bill’s measures that would allow the FDA to approve generic versions of biotechnology drugs, which Genentech also supports.
Both Republican Congressmen Blaine Luetkemeyer of Missouri and Joe Wilson of South Carolina stated, “One of the reasons I have long supported the U.S. biotechnology industry is that it is a homegrown success story that has been an engine of job creation in this country. Unfortunately, many of the largest companies that would seek to enter the biosimilar market have made their money by outsourcing their research to foreign countries like India.”
For many years, as Talking Point Memo reports, Genentech, a subsidiary of Roche, has contributed hefty sums to both Democratic and Republican political action committees, especially those who submitted statements to the Congressional record. However, head of Genentech’s Washington office, Evan L. Morris, said that there was no connection between contributions made to the 42 Representatives – 22 Republicans and 20 Democrats - and their statements.
Democratic Congressman of New Jersey, Bill Pascrell Jr., issued a statement, “I regret that the language was the same. I did not know it was.” The New Jersey Representative said that he received his statements from his staff and didn’t know where they got their information from.
Reuters notes that the statements were based on information by Genentech employees to one of the company’s lobbyists, Matthew Berzok, a lawyer, and later the statements were sent out by another law firm.
Nevertheless, a lobbyist with Genentech was nonchalant about the recent findings and said, “This happens all the time. There was nothing nefarious about it.”
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