Congress Gives Present to Amgen

Amgen is the world’s largest biotechnology company with a market cap of $64 billion and 74 lobbyists in Washington.

They just got a huge gift from Congress as part of the fiscal cliff bill which will cost the Medicare program up to $500 million over a two-year period.

Senators who play a major role in federal health care financing were happy to help Amgen, the world’s largest biotechnology company, evade Medicare cost-cutting controls by delaying price restraints on a class of drugs used by kidney dialysis patients, including Sensipar, a drug made by Amgen. That provision was inserted into the final fiscal bill by Senate aides. Many members of Congress did not know it was in the bill until just hours before it was approved.  — the New York Times.

Three senators have received substantial contributions from Amgen employees and its political action committee since 2007 — almost $68,000 to Senator Baucus, $59,000 to Senator Hatch, and $73,000 to Senator McConnell.

Note also that while all this was going on, Amgen had pleaded guilty just weeks ago to marketing an anti-anemia drug illegally and agreed to pay criminal and civil penalties of $762 million.

With the help of a few powerful senators, large companies can do just about anything  they want in our political system.

It is any wonder we are having trouble bringing down the cost of healthcare in our country? This did not have to happen. If the three senators had stood up to those special interests, members of Congress would not have had to consent to such an egregious bill.

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