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Health lobbying spending up in Q1

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Apr 24, 2024
Lobbying money spent in first quarter by select health trade association groups, <span style="border-bottom: 5px solid #ffa515">2023</span>-<span style="border-bottom: 5px solid #6533ff">2024</span>
Data: U.S. Senate; Chart: Axios Visuals

Health trade associations spent more on lobbying in the first quarter of 2024 than in the same period last year, including big increases from the drug industry and PBMs, according to an Axios analysis of the latest lobbying disclosures.

The big picture: The spending surge happened during a busy period for Congress, including negotiations on a health package that included modest PBM transparency and site-neutral measures, which ultimately fell apart.

By the numbers: The PBM industry trade association, PCMA, continued its trend of increasing spending, just as the group did last year when it was also facing legislative action.

  • PCMA boosted its spending by $2 million from the first quarter of last year. It spent $4.8 million in Q1 2024, compared with its Q1 2023 spending of $2.8 million.
  • In addition to the near-deal on the spending bill, Sen. Bill Cassidy had pushed for PBM commercial market reforms that some House Republicans thought went too far.

PhRMA also boosted its lobbying spending by almost $2 million — from $8 million in Q1 2023 to $9.6 million in Q1 2024.

  • The American Medical Association spent $7.3 million in the first quarter of 2024, up from the $6.7 million spent in Q1 2023.
  • The American Hospital Association spent $6 million, compared with $5.6 million in the first quarter of 2023.
  • AHIP was one of the few main groups that spent less this quarter — $4.2 million versus $4.7 million in Q1 2023.

Between the lines: BIO also spent less this quarter than last year: $1.8 million in Q1 2024 and $2.4 million in Q1 2023.

  • That's notable given that BIO had raised concerns about legislation that would have cracked down on Chinese biotech companies, and had been under fire from members of Congress for lobbying on the issue.
  • BIO then made an about face, reversing its stance to support the legislation, and proactively cut ties with a Chinese biotech firm.

Zoom in: Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly, manufacturers of the blockbuster weight-loss medications Wegovy and Zepbound, also upped their spending over last year.

  • Novo Nordisk listed the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act as one of its lobbying issues. That bill would allow Medicare to cover weight-loss medications, which the program currently is prohibited from doing.

What we're watching: Keep your eye out for where the money goes as we get closer to the end of the year, when some of these proposals could see quick action in a lame duck session.

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