Industry Influence - Lobbying Doesn't Come Cheap

Jane Akre
December 6, 2011


Advanced Medical Technology Association or AdvaMed (here) calls itself the world’s largest medical technology association. In other words, it is the lobbying arm of the medical device industry and in terms of surgical mesh, there is a lot at stake. That’s why AdvaMed brought its president to the September FDA expert panel hearings concerning synthetic surgical mesh and now the third quarter spending for the medical device industry's main advocacy group is out.

In an Associated Press article (here), AdvaMed spent about $428,500 lobbying Congress, just in the third quarter. A disclosure report says the lobbying went for provisions of the 2010 health care reform law which requires medical device companies to disclose payments to physicians. Lobbying efforts also included the FDA budget, the taxes on medical devices, among other issues.

That expenditure is up 20 percent from about $358,000, which AdvaMed, spent in the same period a year ago, and “up 17 percent from the roughly $366,000 it spent in the second quarter of 2011” reports the Associated Press.

AdvaMed said it lobbied on topics including provisions of the March 2010 health care reform law that require disclosure of payments from medical device companies to physicians, regulatory approval and oversight of implantable medical devices, the budget for the Food and Drug Administration, taxes on devices, copyright and patent laws, trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and Korea, and Federal Aviation Administration rules.

Revolving Door

Lobbyists often come from inside the beltway jobs, working for Congress in a variety of capacities. In this way they have already established contacts which presumably are helpful in advancing a message. Associated Press lists the following new employees of AdvaMed:

Elizabeth Sharp, a former employee of Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis.;

Elizabeth Kegler, a former staffer for Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa;

Juan Carlos Scott, who held a variety of positions that included working for former Ohio Rep. Deborah Pryce, a Republican;

Duane Wright, who worked in the offices of Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., and former Rep. Jim Davis, D-Fla.

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