Feature Data Briefing

How big is the US healthcare lobby?

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f7366 (Published 12 December 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f7366
  1. Edward Davies, US news and features editor, BMJ
  1. 1New York, USA
  1. edavies{at}bmj.com

Edward Davies looks at the size and scope of federal lobbying for healthcare companies in the United States

The size of lobby spending in all industries has grown steadily since the turn of the century, from $1.56bn (£0.95bn; €1.1bn) in 2000 to $3.55bn in 2010. In the past two years it has dipped slightly to $3.31bn in 2012 and though the figures are smaller, the trends are similar in health lobbying in isolation. Last year the total spend on health lobbying was just under $0.5bn

Federal lobbying in the US is a big business with a long history and a lot of mistrust. The first serious attempts to shine a light into the practice came about about 70 years ago under the Federal Regulation of Lobbying Act, passed by Congress in 1946.

This was variously challenged and altered and in 1995 was superseded by the Lobbying Disclosure Act, under which certain lobbying activities and their value must be publicly declared and all lobbyists compelled to register with the clerk of the House of Representatives since 2006.

The result is a good amount of data on activity …

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