Big Pharma Gets Rolled

Well, this didn’t take long:

Caught between a pivotal industry ally and the protests of Congressional Democrats, the Obama administration on Friday backed away from what drug industry lobbyists had said this week was a firm White House promise to exclude from a proposed health care overhaul the possibility of allowing the government to negotiate lower drug prices under Medicare. …Pressed by drug industry lobbyists, a White House deputy chief of staff, Jim Messina, confirmed in an e-mail message on Wednesday that the White House shared the drug lobbyists’ interpretation of the deal: that any health care overhaul would not include allowing direct government negotiation of drug prices or require certain additional price rebates. Since Wednesday, other representatives of the White House had also stood by Mr. Messina’s statement as well. …Then, after contending for two days that the Senate Democrats had misunderstood the White House aide’s comments, the White House appeared Friday night to back away. White House officials said Friday that Mr. Messina, the deputy chief of staff who sent the e-mail message, had not intended to confirm that the deal ruled out price negotiations. …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. …Perhaps capitalizing on his leverage as the political battle heated up over the health care measure, Mr. Tauzin insisted early this week that the deal clearly precluded drug price negotiations as well as any other additional costs. Drug companies have long opposed government price negotiations on the grounds that they would effectively set prices and cripple the industry. As Mr. Tauzin spoke up, the White House initially chose not to argue. But faced with a chorus of Congressional complaints, the administration appears to have recalibrated its position.

(“Recalibrated”, like calibrated, is apparently a Harvard shorthand for “I screwed the pooch on that, but am too arrogant to admit it”) More to the point – let’s all congratulate Billy Tauzin and Big Pharma for reaping their just rewards. They attempted to throw the general welfare of the American public under the bus, for short term gains to their industry. They funded the ‘turncoat’ Harry and Louise ads now playing, where Harry and Louise, apparently in the grip of early onset dementia, are lovingly embracing Obamacare. And Obama, true , to , form, backed the bus right up over them. You can contact Billy and his PhRMA buddies here, and let them now how sad you are that they’ve been skunked by the Chicago Racketeer-In-Chief