Sunday, January 27, 2013

Amgen Gift Hidden In “fiscal cliff” bill approved three weeks ago by Congress

Vermont Lawmaker Moves to Repeal Protection for Drug Maker

A Vermont lawmaker on Wednesday introduced legislation that would repeal language passed into law in early January that benefits a California-based biotechnology company, saying the deal “confirms the American public’s worst suspicions of how Congress operates.”
The bill introduced by Representative Peter Welch, Democrat of Vermont, would eliminate the two-year delay in Medicare price restraints that Amgen, of Thousand Oaks, Calif., sought as part of the legislation to avert the so-called fiscal cliff. The provision protects certain oral drugs, including Amgen’s Sensipar, from Medicare price controls, costing the federal government perhaps as much as $500 million in the coming two years.
This special protection, first detailed in The New York Times, was supported by the two top members of the Senate Finance Committee — Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana, and Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah — who are major recipients of campaign contributions from Amgen and its employees.
Aides for the senators, and a spokeswoman for Amgen, said the delay in the price controls was necessary to protect kidney dialysis patients, because so many other changes are already taking place in the way Medicare covers this care. They dismissed any suggestion that the provision was related to political contributions, saying the change was good public policy.
“Patient access to necessary treatments would be compromised,” Kelley Davenport, an Amgen spokeswoman , said in a written statement Wednesday, defending the provision and opposing any repeal.
But critics called the provision an unnecessary giveaway to Amgen.

Amgen Guilty Plea...

Amgen Agrees to Pay $762 Million for Marketing Anemia Drug for Off-Label Use

December 18, 2012 Amgen pleaded guilty to illegally marketing the drug and agreed to pay $762 million in criminal penalties and settlements of whistle-blower lawsuits. Amgen was “pursuing profits at the risk of patient safety,” Marshall L. Miller, acting United States attorney in Brooklyn, said in a telephone news briefing on Tuesday. ... But the repeal of the provision has little chance of becoming law unless a much larger number of lawmakers sign on to the effort, and then move to attach the repeal to some other piece of related legislation moving through the House.

The New York Times Article

Three weeks later they were given this gift...

Amgen Gets a Gift From Congress

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