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The big drug industry trade groups PhRMA and BIO are still on track to spend a record amount this year lobbying the federal government — even though neither took a position on the unsuccessful Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the summer’s most hotly contested pieces of legislation.

The two groups have collectively spent more than $26 million lobbying Congress and the executive branch in the first nine months of this year, the most since at least 2008, when organizations began to report their quarterly lobbying spending. By comparison, during the eight years of the Obama administration, the two trade groups collectively spent an average of $21 million on lobbying in the first nine months of the year.


PhRMA spent $19.6 million in the first three quarters of this year, the most since 2009, when spending was 1.5 percent higher. Among the hundreds of bills and issues the group listed in its third quarter disclosure form were several hot-button ones: policy issues related to alternative payment models. Bills that would fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program. And legislation on the payments known as drug rebates made by drug manufacturers to pharmacy benefit managers.

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