Drug companies woo lawmakers
The pharmaceutical industry, fighting to defeat proposals that would give US patients easier access to cheaper Canadian drugs, is making the most of its chance for face time with lawmakers at the GOP convention. Drug companies are well-represented on the social calendar in New York with events large and small.
They include an afternoon tea with New York state first lady Libby Pataki, sponsored by AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals; a nomination-night party for top members of President Bush ‘s re-election team, co-sponsored by Bristol-Myers Squibb; and a breast-cancer awareness luncheon funded by Novartis Pharmaceuticals.
Pfizer is one of the most active drug makers. Its events include a supper for the Colorado delegation at Tavern on the Green and an evening reception at the landmark Rainbow Room in honor of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
The companies believe reaching out to decision-makers at all levels of government is particularly important at a time when Congress and several states and communities are considering proposals that would allow residents to shop for medication north of the border. “It is important that we decisively convey our side of the story. We need to emphasize that there are real safety risks associated with importation,” said Jeff Trewhitt, a spokesman for the industry’s biggest lobby, the Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America. On Tuesday, Pfizer sponsored the second of two breakfasts for delegates from Oregon, a presidential battleground state whose Democratic governor recently asked the federal government for permission to import drugs from Canada. ap