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Top 5: ‘Hanging on to what you’ve got is harder’ (access required)

Solar energy company SunEdison announced it will be moving its headquarters to California, and speaking fees for pharmaceutical companies are going down. Those stories and more in this week's business Top 5. 1. Maryland’s top lobbyists got $15.5M during 2011 session - by Nicholas Sohr Maryland’s biggest businesses, interest groups and labor unions increased spending on lobbyists to $15.5 million during the 2011 General Assembly session, according to the State Ethics Commission. That was a 14.4 percent bump over the 2010 session, when the top spenders had $13.5 million in lobbying expenses. 2. Speaking fees declining for pharmaceutical firms - by Ben Mook The amount of money paid by pharmaceutical firms to physicians and other health professionals to speak about their products seems to be slowing, but a look at 12 companies that disclose those figures shows it still amounts to millions of dollars in Maryland. A review of the payments reported by eight major pharmaceutical firms including Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Pfizer and Novartis show that in 2010 in Maryland, doctors were paid more than $4 million in speaking fees. This compares to the first half of 2011, when reporting companies paid only $836,330 in speaking fees.