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The economy may be sliding, but that hasn’t stemmed the high-rolling habits of Washington’s largest lobby. In 2007, as the Center recently reported, the pharmaceutical industry — along with makers of medical devices and other health products — spent a record $189 million-plus on federal lobbying. Though the industry is not quite on track to meet that total this year, just-released disclosure reports show the lobby has already spent a still-impressive $40 million in the first quarter of 2008.

Leading the pack again this year: the trade group Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America, with $3.6 million in expenses. Also among the big spenders are industry heavyweights Eli Lilly and Co., Pfizer Inc., Amgen Inc., and Roche Holding AG.

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