Regulators visiting a Roche ($RHHBY) facility in the U.K. found a surprise lurking in the company’s computer system: 80,000 uninvestigated adverse reaction reports from the U.S. The reports are on a hodgepodge of drugs made by the Swiss company and include more than 15,000 reports of deaths, with some of the notices dating back 5 years.
In a statement meant to reassure anyone taking a Roche drug, the European Medicines Agency says there is no evidence of any negative effect on patients, yet, and that no action is needed to be taken by doctors or patients. Roche is the world’s largest maker of cancer drugs.
“One of the reasons I have long supported the U.S. biotechnology industry is that it is a homegrown success story that has been an engine of job creation in this country.” This written statement by Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina on the health care bill was identical to one by Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer and used language suggested by lobbyists.
WASHINGTON — In the official record of the historic House debate on overhauling health care, the speeches of many lawmakers echo with similarities. Often, that was no accident.
Statements by more than a dozen lawmakers were ghostwritten, in whole or in part, by Washington lobbyists working for Genentech, one of the world’s largest biotechnology companies.
E-mail messages obtained by The New York Times show that the lobbyists drafted one statement for Democrats and another for Republicans.
The lobbyists, employed by Genentech and by two Washington law firms, were remarkably successful in getting the statements printed in the Congressional Record under the names of different members of Congress.
Genentech, a subsidiary of the Swiss drug giant Roche, estimates that 42 House members picked up some of its talking points — 22 Republicans and 20 Democrats, an unusual bipartisan coup for lobbyists.