Despite Criminal and Civil Woes, Amgen Gets Boost from Congress
It was reported by the Department of Justice back in December 19, 2012, the world's largest biotechnology giant Amgen Inc. pled guilty to criminal and civil suits that amounted to over $750 Million dollars. Amgen, a politically powerful company who has managed to evade Medicare cost-cutting controls, will benefit financially thanks to its lobbying and fundraising prowess.
Congress, in 2008, had allowed specific oral drugs such as Sensipar a two-year delay from expiring unlike other non-oral drugs. Moving the expiration date to 2014 gave way for companies such as Amgen to shy away from more expensive Medicare systems. In return, the Medicare program is footing the bill amounting to $500 Million over a two-year period.
Within the "fiscal cliff" bill, approved in the opening days of 2013, lays provisions to allow a company such as Amgen to continue to have their products become exempt from costly Medicare systems. Advocates of this "delay" according to the New York Times are Senator Max Baucus of Montana (D), Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah (R), and even Senator Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader. Among the political elite, lies Amgen's lobbying aides in its success of this provision: former chief of staff for both Mr. Baucus and Mr. Connell and Mr. Hatch's top aide who was a former health policy analyst for Amgen.
Powerfully rich companies such as Amgen have garnered the right amounts of political influence in negotiating such a delay for its drugs even after its controversial guilty plea in Brooklyn, New York. Special interests within Congress seem to be delaying the evident healthcare change that is desperately needed in the United States.