Why is Ted Kennedy being so kind to Amgen?

How to fix health policy.
July 13 2009 6:53 PM

An Amgen Payoff?

Why is Ted Kennedy being so nice to the biotech industry?

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[Update, 10 p.m.: At the time I filed this piece, Ganley of the Kennedy Institute had not yet gotten back to me on another question: Had any other pharmaceutical company donated since this past January? According to a followup e-mail from Ganley, the answer is no.]

[Update, July 14: The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions late yesterday approved, 16-7, a variation on Kennedy's proposal sponsored by Sens. Mike Enzi, Orrin Hatch, and Kay Hagan. The bill grants new biologics exclusive marketing rights for 12 years. The committee rejected, 5-17 *, an alternative sponsored by Sen. Sherrod Brown that granted new biologics seven years' exclusive marketing rights, the compromise favored by the Obama administration.]

Corrections, July 14, 2009: This column erroneously stated that Amgen is headquartered in Massachusetts. Amgen is headquartered in Thousand Oaks, Calif. ( Return to the corrected sentence.)

This update originally misstated the committee vote as 5-7. ( Return to the corrected sentence.)

Timothy Noah is a former Slate staffer. His  book about income inequality is The Great Divergence.