Biotech Firm Ghostwrote Identical Statements By Congress Critters On Health Care Bill

A lobbyist for one of the world’s largest biotech firms ghostwrote in whole or in part the official statements made by different Congresspersons in the Congressional Record regarding a provision of the House health care bill, a Times investigation found.

22 Republicans and 20 Democrats picked up the talking points drafted by lobbyists working for Genentech, a subsidiary of Swiss drug maker Roche.

Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) said: “One of the reasons I have long supported the U.S. biotechnology industry is that is is a homegrown success story that has been an engine of job creation in this country. Unfortunately, many of the largest companies that would seek to enter the biosimilar market have made their money by outsourcing their research to foreign countries like India.”

Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) said: “One of the reasons I have long supported the U.S. biotechnology industry is that is is a homegrown success story that has been an engine of job creation in this country. Unfortunately, many of the largest companies that would seek to enter the biosimilar market have made their money by outsourcing their research to foreign countries like India.”

Rep. Yvette D Clarke (D-NY) said: “I see this bill as an exciting opportunity to create the kind of jobs we so desperately need in this country, while at the same time improving the lives of all Americans.”

Rep. Donald M Payne (D-NJ) said: “I see this bill as an exciting opportunity to create the kind of jobs we so desperately need in this country, while at the same time improving the lives of ALL Americans.”

Rep. K Michael Conway (R-TX) said: “I do believe the sections relating to the creation of a market for biosimilar products is one area of the bill that strikes the appropriate balance in providing lower cost options.”

Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) said: “I do believe the sections relating to the creation of a market for biosimilar products is one area of the bill that strikes the appropriate balance in providing lower cost options.”

Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) said: “I do believe the sections relating to the creation of a market for biosimilar products is one area of the bill that strikes the appropriate balance in providing lower cost options.”

Asked about the Congressional statements, a lobbyist close to Genentech said: “This happens all the time. There was nothing nefarious about it.

…Mr Brady’s chief of staff…said: “We were approached by the lobbyist, who asked if we would be willing to enter a statement in the Congressional Record…I asked him for a draft. I tweaked a couple of words. There’s not much reason to reinvent the wheel on a Congressional Record entry.”

Is the health care debate really a fight between Democrats and Republicans, or a battle between lobbyists and the rest of us?

In House, Many Spoke With One Voice: Lobbyists’ [NYT] (Photo: Wojtek Przywrzej)