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Genentech-Roche to Pull Out of PhRMA

Pharmaceutical giant Hoffmann-La Roche, which in March acquired Genentech, is pulling out of the industry’s big lobby group, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.“The new combined Genentech-Roche U.S. commercial organization has made a business decision to withdraw from PhRMA, effective June 30, 2009,— said a statement e-mailed from Darien Wilson, director of public affairs for Roche, which uses the Genentech name in the U.S.. Roche, which has been a PhRMA member since 1973, is based in Basel, Switzerland. According to the statement, the newly combined company will work through the Biotechnology Industry Organization of which Genentech was already a member. Genentech was not recently a PhRMA member.“Moving forward, Genentech will continue to focus on working with BIO, the trade association and voice for the biotechnology industry,— Wilson’s statement said. “As part of the world’s largest biotechnology company, Genentech and Roche believe that BIO’s purpose is closely aligned with the direction of the new company and, therefore, can represent the company’s interests in Washington, among policymakers, legislators and the general public.—Wilson’s e-mail went on to say that as previously announced, Roche Pharma Division’s head of global product strategy, Ian Clark, has been named to the BIO Health Section Governing Board and the BIO Board of Directors Executive Committee.PhRMA members pay their dues based on U.S. sales, and a combined Roche-Genentech would reportedly have domestic revenues of more than $15 billion. PhRMA will not be getting dues based on that revenue or the dues that it had previously relied on from Roche.PhRMA’s president and CEO, former Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.), said he could not say what Roche’s dues were but added that the move was not much of a change for his organization.“We have members come and go,— Tauzin said, noting that PhRMA last year picked up four members.The new Genentech-Roche may rejoin the group next year, he said.“We did speak to them in Europe, and they’re going to consider joining in the future,— Tauzin said, adding that Genentech had been a former PhRMA member as well. “It’s not that big a deal because Genentech was not a member. It’s a status quo, not a big decision.—The group’s dues structure is a “confidential matter,— Tauzin said.For the first quarter of 2009, PhRMA reported spending more than $6.9 million on federal lobbying, according to disclosures filed with the U.S. Senate. PhRMA is considered a key stakeholder in the ongoing health care reform debate.

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