All Roads Lead To PhRMA

"When the House voted last week to let Americans import less expensive medicines from Canada and Europe, 53 senators signed a letter opposing the legislation, a letter that the industry trade group, which vigorously opposed the measure, hailed as proof of its argument that the bill would jeopardize patient safety," the New York Times' Sheryl Gay Stolberg reports. "What the trade group, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association, did not say, at the time, was that it helped coordinate the signature campaign. ... The trade group's involvement in gathering signatures, detailed in a document obtained by The Times, is not a surprise. It offers a glimpse into the aggressive efforts by the pharmaceutical manufacturers to defeat the import provision."

PhRMA, one of Washington's most influential lobbying groups, has a record of hiding its lobbying activities, often by paying other organizations to promote its interests. With nearly 100 lobbyists registered to represent its interests last year, PhRMA is angering many lawmakers. "This is a multiarmed octopus we're dealing with," said Representative Gil Gutknecht, the Minnesota Republican who is the chief sponsor of the measure. Referring to the trade group, Mr. Gutknecht added, "All roads lead to Pharma."