WASHINGTON — AstraZeneca has decided to leave the brand drug lobbying powerhouse PhRMA halfway through the year, the organization said.
The exit is the group’s third in five months, as AbbVie exited PhRMA in December and Teva Pharmaceuticals left in February.
PhRMA, which confirmed AstraZeneca’s departure, said in a statement the group continues to prioritize “pushing reforms that protect innovation and make health care more accessible and affordable for all Americans.”
AstraZeneca said the company regularly evaluates its memberships with trade associations to assess whether the memberships are a “productive and effective” investment, and after a recent assessment decided not to continue its PhRMA membership.
“We look forward to redirecting our investment and continuing our US advocacy efforts… at the state and federal levels. Our longstanding commitment to being engaged with state and federal policymakers has not changed, we’re just changing how we do it,” a company spokesperson said in a written statement.
AstraZeneca’s CEO, Pascal Soriot, was a member of PhRMA’s board of directors.
The move comes as AstraZeneca could be on a collision course with the federal government this fall. Medicare is expected to announce for which drugs it will negotiate prices in the first version of that new program by Sept. 1.
AstraZeneca’s drug Symbicort, which treats asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, could be subject to the negotiation, some experts project. The drug cost the Medicare program $2.1 billion in 2020, according to federal data.
The pharmaceutical industry, including PhRMA, struggled to influence Democrats’ major drug pricing reform law last year.
The departure was first reported by Politico.
AstraZeneca spent $4.9 million on lobbying in 2022, which ranked behind drugmakers like Pfizer, Eli Lilly, Johnson & Johnson, Gilead, Merck, and Amgen. The company employs seven in-house lobbyists and has active contracts with four outside firms, according to its most recent federal disclosure filings.
AstraZeneca, which is headquartered in the United Kingdom, is the ninth-largest pharmaceutical company in the United States by 2022 revenue.