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WASHINGTON (AP) - Merck & Co. spent $1.12 million lobbying the federal government in the second quarter, on issues related to implementation of the health care overhaul and several tax-related matters, according to a quarterly disclosure report.

Up 19% from the $944,000 that the Whitehouse Station, N.J., company spent a year earlier, the company lobbied on legislation to address the worsening shortage of medicines mainly used in hospitals and to provide incentives for companies to develop sorely needed new antibiotics.

It also lobbied on several issues for which there was no specific bill pending, which include the fee drug makers pay for the Food and Drug Administration to review experimental drugs for approval, importation of prescription drugs from countries where they are cheaper and education about hepatitis C. Merck recently got U.S. and European Union approval for a new treatment called Victrelis for the life-threatening disease, and it already sells other drugs for hepatitis C.

Merck lobbied for patent reform, comprehensive tax reform, renewing and expanding the tax credit for research and development, deferral of taxes on income earned overseas and free-trade agreements with Korea, Colombia, and Panama.

Merck lobbied on price and rebate issues involving prescription drugs bought through the Medicare Part D program and on bills affecting the independent payment advisory board established by the 2010 federal health care overhaul - and intended to hold down growth in Medicare spending.

The company lobbied on access to over-the-counter medications and lobbied the Senate and House, according to a disclosure report filed July 20, 2011 with the House clerk's office.

The Associated Press

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