From Ryan Grimm at HuffPost:
So I guess that's that. The New York Times reports
The drug industry lobbyists...had reached an agreement with the White House in June to contribute $80 billion over 10 years to the cost of the health care overhaul but cap its share of the costs at that level. And since striking the deal, the drug industry lobbyists had become a vital and thus powerful White House ally, even helping to bankroll a million-dollar advertising campaign in support of the health care overhaul.
As recently as Wednesday, Billy Tauzin, president of the PhRMA, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, had all but threatened to reverse the group’s support for the health care overhaul if the White House did not affirm its commitment to cap the industry’s costs at the agreed-upon $80 billion. He insisted that adding government price negotiations or additional drug price rebates would both violate the agreement, saying each idea had been discussed and discarded in negotiations with the Senate Finance Committee that the White House later approved.On Friday night, however, the drug industry lobby appeared to line up once again with the White House, perhaps satisfied that the White House had at least ruled out the price rebates in the House bill. (NYT)
Ryan Grimm says:
Earlier in the week, there were reports that Obama had promised to oppose any congressional attempt to exact further money from the massive pharmaceutical industry, which would include allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower prices or import cheaper drugs from Canada -- two major priorities for congressional Democrats...The administration has now stepped in to clear up its position: Congress can vote to do those things -- just not as part of the health-care overhaul legislation.
The White House said on Friday that drug price negotiations did not specifically come up in talks with Big Pharma. Because such negotiations would take the deal past $80 billion, however, they're off limits, as is reimportation of cheaper drugs from Canada.... Of course, as the White House acknowledges, senators are free to push for drug-price negotiations or reimportation, but they may have to do so without administration support and, certainly, in the face of Big Pharma opposition. (Ryan Grimm; HuffPost; emphasis added)
Joe Sudbay of AMERICAblog comments:
Yeah, and what about this then? Marcy Wheeler asks:
Why the fuck isn't Billy Tauzin, the head of PhRMA, sending out representatives to every town hall across the country to pitch the value of health care reform? Why hasn't Bristol-Myers Squibb gotten Dick Armey to call off the violent hordes at the town halls?
If Billy Tauzin has really exacted the deal it appears he has, it means the pharmaceutical industry has turned health care reform into a giant government subsidy for their industry. Well, then, why aren't they leading the way in supporting this crappy bill?
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