On October 29, Jane wrote a scathing post about what Anna Eshoo’s provision to give biosimilars a route to approval would do, focusing on the 12 years–and probably more–of monopoly it would grant.
The following day–October 30–Eshoo responded.
On November 2, Jane ripped apart some of Eshoo’s details. She reminded Eshoo that no lesser legislative whiz than Henry Waxman has made the same argument Jane was making. She pointed out that taxpayers have already paid for many of these drugs.
Meanwhile, a bunch of earnest medical students started pressuring law-makers directly.
And then, the NYT tells us, the biotech industry started recruiting Representatives to publicly state their support for the biologics measure.
Statements by more than a dozen lawmakers were ghostwritten, in whole or in part, by Washington lobbyists working for Genentech, one of the world’s largest biotechnology companies.E-mail messages obtained by The New York Times show that the lobbyists drafted one statement for Democrats and another for Republicans.
The e-mail messages and their attached documents indicate that the statements were based on information supplied by Genentech employees to one of its lobbyists, Matthew L. Berzok, a lawyer at Ryan, MacKinnon, Vasapoli & Berzok who is identified as the “author” of the documents. The statements were disseminated by lobbyists at a big law firm, Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal.
In an e-mail message to fellow lobbyists on Nov. 5, two days before the House vote, Todd M. Weiss, senior managing director of Sonnenschein, said, “We are trying to secure as many House R’s and D’s to offer this/these statements for the record as humanly possible.”
He told the lobbyists to “conduct aggressive outreach to your contacts on the Hill to see if their bosses would offer the attached statements (or an edited version) for the record.”
That big dollar lobbying got 42 Representatives–42!!!–to try to refute the arguments that Jane was making.
Our Jane has them running scared, I guess. I wonder how much those 42 Congressional parrots cost Genentech (which is located in Anna Eshoo’s district)?
While I’m grateful the NYT has called out these 42 Representatives for being industry parrots, there are a number of questions the article raises. Such as, who are the 42 Representatives? The article mentions:
- K. Michael Conaway
- Lynn Jenkins
- Blaine Luetkemeyer
- Lee Terry
- Joe Wilson
- Robert Brady
- Yvette Clarke
- Phil Hare
- Bill Pascrell Jr.
- Donald Payne
That’s just 10 people; the article stated that “more than a dozen” lawmakers used Genentech’s talking points almost verbatim and reports Genentech bragging of getting 42 Representatives to use its talking points. (Note two people missing from this list: Eshoo and Barton, the measure’s co-sponsors.) So who are the others? And who might the other 30 that Genentech boasted of?
Also, it’d be really nice to show the emails, so Americans can see how little it takes to buy a member of Congress.
Finally, it’d be nice if they showed us either the talking points or the speeches made by the members of Congress to save us the time it’ll now take to dig that out of the Congressional record. I wonder, for example, how much of Anna Eshoo’s response to Jane on October 30 came directly from her Genentech script writers?