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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Big Pharma Meets Knife In Back

In order to get large pharmaceutical companies behind Obamacare, including getting the drug companies to advertise, the Obama administration cut a deal, among other things, that the re-importation of drugs would not generally be permitted.

Unlike some issues, there are legitimate points on each side of the issue, the simplistic demagoguery of Obama and many Democrats notwithstanding.

But a deal is a deal, right?

Well I guess Big Pharma didn't get it in writing, or didn't listen carefully enough. What Obama apparently meant was that drug re-importation would not be part of this legislation.

David Axelrod just announced that drug re-importation, however, would be part of the next piece of legislation and will be an administration priority:

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, a key White House ally in the healthcare reform push, has lobbied heavily against re-importation, though, and would likely not support the final bill if it was included in the package.

Speaking on CNN’s "State of the Union," David Axelrod, Obama’s top political aide, said the White House still favors drug re-importation and wants to move forward on it.“Let me be clear. The president supports re-importation. As he said, safe re-importation of drugs into this country. There’s no reason why the Americans should pay a premium for pharmaceuticals that people in other countries pay less for,” Axelrod said. “We will move forward on it.”

CNN’s John King countered, “Just not in this healthcare reform?”

“Yes,” Axelrod said. “The president is committed to move forward once we resolve the issues that the [Food and Drug Administration (FDA)] has. That is his responsibility, to protect the American people.”

How foolish for so many to have cut deals to push forward this horrible legislation thinking that one would obtain some sort of permanent immunity. The AMA's deal on doctor reimbursements already has been cast aside even prior to passage, now Big Pharma's deal will fall soon after passage.

Whose deal is next for a stab in the back?

Nebraska, I hope.

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  1. Do you not like the legislation and therefore find cutting deals distasteful? Or do you find cutting deals distasteful even when politicians you lie are cutting deals to pass legislation you like?

  2. We never hear the other side of the argument, BTW. Foreign governments, i.e., single payers, can give drug companies a take-it-or-leave-it offer: take an amount slightly higher than your per-pill cost to produce, or no deal. It's called monopsony. So American customers have to foot the bill for research costs and the regulatory hurdles they face in bringing life-saving drugs to market.

    Who's gonna pay those costs now, Mr. President?

  3. "There’s no reason why the Americans should pay a premium for pharmaceuticals that people in other countries pay less for,”

    Actually there are reasons why Americans pay more. Here's two:

    1) US firms do much of the R&D
    2) Most people around the world live in nations who have very high tax rates which mask the low price to them.

    But I guess ss Barry told the Chinese leader in Copenhagen, "nation-states are irrelevant".

    We're just one big, blue marble now!

  4. What else to expect? He'll use you, if you let him... that's how narcissists are.

    But once no longer politically useful, serial opportunist Obama will treat you like yesterday's garbage.

    Just ask Khalidi, Ayers, Wright, Rezko, Blagojevich, et. al... or any other former ally he kicked to the curb when he was done with them and now treats like a leper he's never met.

    Barack takes care of Barack- that's how it works.

  5. Note that pharma companies generally can (and do) control distribution of their product. They've been careful to let only a tiny surplus go to canada, supplying enough for 33 million people +/- a small percent.

    It's unlikely they will ship over to canada hundreds of millions of doses simply to let Axelrod and Obama drag the crates of pills across the border.

    One drug that won't be reimported is viagra, our beacons of healthcare like the UK cover it only for diabetics and paraplegics, Japan doesn't cover it at all. And there won't be any reason to reimport this stuff, as this is one drug that proves the value of free competitive markets. In the UK, where it is paid for out-of-pocket, it costs englishmen the same $7 per tablet that it costs here.

  6. Darth Obama -

    "I have altered the deal. Pray I don't alter it any further."

  7. I take this as a very bad sign. If they feel so confident about the bill's passage that they're already throwing big pharma under the bus, ObamaCare is a done deal.

  8. I think the main point we are overlooking here is that this administration made a deal with the pharma companies and INTENTIONALLY misled them on what was apparently a key issue for their support. This speaks volumes of the caliber of the people in the white house. It is even more shocking that they make no excuses for their behavior. Obama has been talking out of both sides of his mouth since his campaign days, but this is the icing on the cake. I really dont see how they can maintain ANY credability about anything. This administration with all their promises of "transparency" is proving more and more to operate in a "buyer beware" fashion.

  9. I wonder what the shelf life is for Nebraska's deal to betray the rest of the states?

  10. I worked in big pharma. We ARE footing the bill for research and the approval process. In addition to the reimportation of drugs issue, all big corporations face additional taxes on benefits they give now (as I understand it). I have wonderful drug coverate - many drugs that my firm makes are free. I have Blue-Cross/Blue Shield backup for my Medicare and I have needed it a couple of times. HOWEVER my company has made it clear that I will lose all of this for one reason or another. I don't think that we really will know what the costs are until the dust settles. A lot of us little fish will be paying a whole lot more while losing benefits and quality coverage.