When it comes to lobbying and the pharmaceutical industry, apparently you can never have too many voices.

The Center for Responsive Politics says the pharmaceutical industry spent $150 million on lobbying in 2007.

The Pink Sheet trade publication says that Frazer’s Cephalon Inc. and Chadds Ford’s Endo Pharmaceuticals Holdings Inc. have teamed with five other drug makers to form America’s Specialty Medicines Companies.
Cephalon’s vice president of public affairs Sheryl Williams confirms the companies have been talking for months, but that right now it’s an “informal working group.”
I can’t imagine that Washington really needs another group calling on Congress on behalf of the drug industry.

After all, the Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers Association, one of the most powerful trade associations, spent $22.7 million on lobbying last year.

And the Biotechnology Industry Organization, which has become the biggest advocate for biotech companies, spent $7.2 million.

But Williams said Cephalon and the other six companies involved in this working group are not giants like those in Big Pharma. (The other members are Celgene, Cubist, Millennium, Purdue and Sepracor.) They’re also not development-stage firms working on biologics.

Each of these seven has at least one or two drugs that provide most of their revenue, Williams said. As a result, their situation can be more tenuous than a Big Pharma company that can rely on dozens of products, including the billion-dollar-selling blockbusters.

She said the group sees its concerns as different from those of Big Pharma and traditional biotech even if it hasn’t been able to articulate exactly what it will stand for. The companies just know that when it comes to federal legislation “it’s not one size fits all,” Williams said.
Maybe these companies are what parents say about teenagers: They’re at an awkward age. Too old to play with the kids, but not old enough to hang with the adults.
Still, let’s hope they don’t start hanging out on the corners outside the Capitol.