WASHINGTON _ Amgen Inc. and its political actioncommittee (PAC) in the first six months of 1995contributed more to the Republican Party than many bigpharmaceutical companies and matched the politicaloutlays of many large U.S. corporations.

According to statistics recently released by CommonCause, a nonpartisan group that advocates campaignfinance reform, Amgen, of Thousand Oaks, Calif., wasone of the top donors of so-called soft money to theRepublican Party.

Current federal law prohibits corporations and laborunions from making contributions in connection with afederal election. Hard money means contributions that areallowed by the statute. Soft money refers to contributionsmade by individuals, PACs, or direct corporatecontributions which are not subject to the federal limits.

Amgen contributed $65,000 to the GOP in the first half of1995, the same amount as Eli Lilly & Co., ofIndianapolis, and $15,000 more than Bristol-MyersSquibb Co., of New York, and Schering Plough Corp., ofMadison, N.J.

The only contribution by a health interest that outrankedAmgen's was a $102,708 contribution made by the BlueCross and Blue Shield Association of Chicago.

In 1994 Amgen contributed nearly $100,000 to nationalDemocratic and Republican election committees and keymembers of Congress. (See BioWorld Today, May 31,1995, p. 1.) Amgen reported revenues of $1.6 billion in1994, according to its most recent annual report. Amgenofficials did not return call to BioWorld Today for aninterview.

Pharmaceutical firms gave a total of $881,999 to theRepublicans during the period, making the industry thesixth largest contributor of any industry. The drug firms'political largesse was eclipsed only by oil and gasinterests, the tobacco lobby, securities, communications,and insurance industries.

Pharmaceutical manufacturers gave the Democratic Partyonly $84,500 during the same period. n

-- Michele L. Robinson Washington Editor

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.