Saturday, January 18, 2014

At $11.265 Million, Merck's Lobbying Spend Eclipses All-Time Annual High

[Updated: Now $11.38 million.] Back in October, I guessed that Mother Merck would break her post New Millennium high, for annual lobbyists' spending. She has done so, with gusto. Almost all the fourth quarter LD-2 forms are online now, and while Merck (as it usually does) spent less in the fourth quarter of 2013 than it did in the early part of the year, it still spent more than $11 million overall. The rate of increase, year over year, is moderating a bit -- so that is good news (this is the shareholders' money, afterall). Below are the major buckets of expense, with my editorial comments after, in brackets.
. . .▲ Playing Fair on Trade and Innovation Act (HR 3167) [that's the India patent rights row, for Merck, largely about Januvia®, and the sitagliptin phosphate polymorphs]. . . .

▲ Additives in beef cattle (no specific bill) [that's the Zilmax® US/Canada markets withdrawal spat!]. . . .

Patent settlements (no specific bill) [that's the pay to delay controversy, with allegedly collusive generic/branded deals]. . . .

▲ Non-interference in Medicare Part D (no specific bill); Medicaid-style rebates in Medicare Part D (no specific bill); Independent Payment Advisory Board (S. 351, H.R. 351).

▲ Alzheimer's education (no specific bill); 340b (no specific bill); hepatitis C education (no specific bill).

▲ Comprehensive tax reform (no specific bill); transfer pricing of intangibles (no specific bill); territorial tax system (no specific bill). . . .

▲ Deferral of taxation of foreign earned income (no specific bill) [that's the repatriation of the perhaps $20 billion Merck still has in allegely permanently off-shore earnings, for which it has been lobbying to garner a tax holiday -- and return the cash to the US -- at very, very low rates]. . . .

▲ Tax base erosion (no specific bill) [Note that here Merck lobbies to keep healthy tax bases (keep other taxpayers "roped in"), in all the cities and municipalities where it has facilities -- and note that the US tax policies on foreign income (immediately prior bullet) work directly against that -- by giving Merck incentives to seek tax subsidies on foreign generated income]. IRONIC.

▲ Trans-Pacific Partnership (no specific bill); biologic data exclusivity (no specific bill); US-EU trade agreement (no specific bill); trade promotion authority (no specific bill).

▲ Supply chain safety (no specific bills).

▲ Access to over-the-counter medications (no specific bill); compounding (no specific bill).

▲ Deficit reduction (no specific bill); ADAP funding (no specific bill).

▲ Animal Drug User Fee Act (ADUFA). . . .

▲ Sequestration of FDA user fees (S. 1413, H.R.2775) [That kept FDA approval process open during the 16 days of October 2013 (a/k/a the Tea Partiers' shutdown).]
So now you know. And as I've mentioned before (with $20 billion in foreign cash tied up off-shore), Merck spends nearly ten times what Apple spends on lobbying, each year. But Apple (as of mid-2013) has $160 billion similarly tied up offshoe. Interesting, no?

It is late, and so. . . Some times, a picture is worth a thousand words.

But I'll be back with a few hundred tomorrow, anyway.

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