Healthcare lobbyists dominate Frankfort spending

This just in from the Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission:

“Lobbying spending for the first three months of the 2010 General Assembly was dominated by the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), which didn’t register to lobby until March.  CHPA represents manufacturers and distributors of non-prescription, over-the-counter medicines.

“CHPA spent $307,377 in March, more than twice as much as the next highest spending employer spent in the entire first quarter of 2010.  CHPA spent $303,377 on phone banking, and paid its lobbyist $4,000 in compensation.  CHPA includes several businesses which employ lobbyists in Kentucky, including Bayer, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Novartis, Pfizer, and Purdue Pharma.

“CHPA engaged a lobbyist on March 8, and began lobbying on two bills (House Bill 497 and Senate Bill 211) designed to tighten restrictions on the purchase and possession of pseudoephedrine, ephedrine, and phenylpropanolamine, substances which are used in a wide variety of non-prescription, over-the-counter medicines, and which can be used illegally to produce methamphetamine. 

“HB 497 would have required a prescription to obtain pseudoephedrine (such as Sudafed), ephedrine, and phenylpropanolamine (used as a nasal decongestant and for weight control), and established new criminal penalties for trafficking in any of the substances.  SB 211 would have reduced the amounts of the three substances which could be legally purchased or possessed, and restricted convicted methamphetamine offenders from purchasing medicine containing the substances. 

“The Kentucky Pharmacists Association said SB 211 would be an “effective measure in cutting down the amount of pseudoephedrine used by criminals to produce meth.”  The Kentucky Association of Chiefs of Police said HB 497 would reduce the number of methamphetamine labs by limiting the availability of substances used to make methamphetamine.  Neither bill was enacted.

“The second highest spending employer for the first quarter of 2010 was Altria Client Services, representing several companies including Philip Morris USA and U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company.  Altria spent $145,187 during the period, compared to $47,882 for the same period in the 2008 General Assembly.

“The next highest spending employers in the first quarter were the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce ($82,310) and the Kentucky Retail Federation ($78,758).  The Chamber’s spending was up from $71,514 in 2008, and the Retail Federation was down slightly from $79,637 in 2008.

“Other top spenders during the first three months of 2010 include the Kentucky Education Association ($76,064); Wellpoint-Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield ($69,581); Kentucky Hospital Association ($63,745); Kentucky Medical Association ($60,810); Kentucky Association of Health Plans ($60,408); Kentucky Bankers Association ($54,240); Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation ($53,357); Kentucky Association of Electric Cooperatives ($51,752); University Health Care ($45,247); and Kentucky League of Cities ($42,877).”

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One Response

  1. Phenomenal post. Insightful and entertaining as always!

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