Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld last week notified Congress that it is lobbying for a Swiss pharmaceutical giant.
Basel-based Novartis hired the firm to "educate members of [C]ongress and the administration regarding the importance of vaccines," according to a lobbying disclosure filing. Akin Gump's Kris Ekdahl, Francine Friedman and Scott Parven are lobbying on behalf of the company, which manufactures pharmaceuticals and other health care products.
An Akin Gump spokeswoman didn’t have an immediate comment. A Novartis spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
Novartis spent $3.6 million on lobbying Congress and federal agencies during the first half of this year, according to congressional records. The company used an in-house lobbying team and lobbyists from a dozen firms, including Williams & Jensen and Ice Miller Strategies. During the second quarter of 2011, the company disclosed that it lobbied on a litany of bills, including measures related to Medicare, Medicaid, drug safety and patent reform.
The company says it spent $9.1 billion last year on research and development. The net income for Novartis in 2010 was $10 billion.
The vaccines and diagnostics section of Novartis has more than 20 marketed products, including pharmaceuticals that provide protection from influenza and meningitis. Another 15 products are in clinical development.
Akin Gump advocated for several heath care companies and organizations during the first half of 2011, according to lobbying disclosures. Drug company Prasco and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America are among the firm’s lobbying clients.