Drugmakers Vowed to Campaign for Health Law, Memos Show

  • You are viewing Orangepower as a Guest. To start new threads, reply to posts, or participate in polls or contests - you must register. Registration is free and easy. Click Here to register.

steross

Bookface/Instagran legend
A/V Subscriber
Mar 31, 2004
24,710
31,034
1,743
oklahoma city
#1
Drugmakers led by Pfizer (PFE) (PFE) Inc. agreed to run a “very significant public campaign” bankrolling political support for the 2010 health-care law, including TV ads, while the Obama administration promised to block provisions opposed by drugmakers, documents released by Republicans show.
The internal memos and e-mails for the first time unveil the industry's plan to finance positive TV ads and supportive groups, along with providing $80 billion in discounts and taxes that were included in the law. The administration has previously denied the existence of a deal involving political support.
The documents were released today by Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. They identify price controls under Medicare and drug importation as the key industry concerns, and show that former Pfizer Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Kindler and his top aides were involved in drawing it up and getting support from other company executives.
“As part of our agreement, PhRMA needs to undertake a very significant public campaign in order to support policies of mutual interest to the industry and the Administration,” according to a July 14, 2009, memo from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. “We have included a significant amount for advertising to express appreciation for lawmakers’ positions on health care reform issues.”
The goal, the memo said, was to “create momentum for consensus health care reform, help it pass, and then acknowledge those senators and representatives who were instrumental in making it happen and who must remain vigilant during implementation.”
Republican View

Republicans, including Representative Joe Pitts, of Pennsylvania, have been probing promises made during the March 2010 passage of the health law, with some arguing that political activity by the drugmakers in any agreement may cross an ethical line.
“After promising transparency, the White House turned around and cut a secret deal with pharmaceutical companies,” Pitts said today in a statement. “Today’s revelation about the $80 billion deal shows an administration that cared more about victory than reform.”
White House spokesman Eric Schultz called the Republican probe “a nakedly political taxpayer-funded crusade to hurt the president’s re-election campaign.”
The committee has wasted time on investigations “but has done almost nothing to move legislation that would create jobs or grow the economy,” Schultz said today in an e-mail.
Committee Investigation

The Republican probe began last year. Bloomberg reported earlier this month that the committee was targeting whether Democrats were promised political support from drugmakers in exchange for limiting what the industry would be asked to contribute under the 2010 health-care overhaul, according to people familiar with the talks who asked not to be identified because they were private.
“PhRMA has a long history of advocating for policies that ensure patient access to innovative medicines and foster medical progress,” said Matt Bennett, a PhRMA spokesman, in an e-mailed statement. “Before, during and since the health-care reform debate, PhRMA engaged with Congress and the administration to advance these priorities.” Bennett declined further comment.
The Supreme Court is considering a challenge to the law and is expected to rule in June.
Obama’s fellow Democrats who backed the health-care law’s passage in 2010 pushed back against Republicans and said today that the documents released by the Republicans were misleading.
‘Always Done’

“President Obama’s efforts to enlist the support of private industry are exactly what presidents have always done to enact major legislation,” U.S. Representatives Henry Waxman of California and Diana DeGette of Colorado said in a joint statement.
Waxman and DeGette, in their statement, said the Democrats had managed to get more than the $80 billion out of drugmakers described in the memos, putting the figure at $110 billion to $125 billion.
Included in the documents released by the Republicans was an October 2012 e-mail from Bryant Hall, a PhRMA lobbyist,
In it, Hall wrote that the Obama administration had agreed to block a proposal by Democrats in Congress that would let people import pharmaceutical products from outside the U.S., where price controls offer them at lower costs than they can be obtained inside the U.S.
The White House “is working on some very explicit language to kill it in health-care reform,” Hall wrote in an e-mail sent to Kindler and Sally Susman, a current Pfizer executive vice president and head of the New York-based drugmaker’s public policy and communications operations.
Three Groups

In other documents, PhRMA agreed to help back at least three different advertising and advocacy groups that pushed for health-care reform.
A PhRMA memo described a group called Health Economy Now, and noted that under an agreement “the industry provides the majority of financial support for positive TV ads advocating passage of health reform.”
It also provided financial backing for television ads thanking lawmakers for their support of an expansion of children’s health care insurance under Medicaid, the U.S. insurance program for the poor, and a campaign called “Harry and Louise,” run with Families USA, a Washington-based pro- health care reform group that advocates for consumers.
 

RxCowboy

Has no Rx for his orange obsession.
A/V Subscriber
Nov 8, 2004
65,281
47,637
1,743
Wishing I was in Stillwater
#4
"Reimportation" doesn't make sense, either. It is a way for Washington to set price controls without having the stones to vote for price controls. The only reason, and I mean the only reason why Pharma can afford to sell to Canada with their price controls is because we subsidize them by paying higher prices here in the US. Allow reimportation on a massive scale and the number of shortages will explode exponentially.
 

steross

Bookface/Instagran legend
A/V Subscriber
Mar 31, 2004
24,710
31,034
1,743
oklahoma city
#5
"Reimportation" doesn't make sense, either. It is a way for Washington to set price controls without having the stones to vote for price controls. The only reason, and I mean the only reason why Pharma can afford to sell to Canada with their price controls is because we subsidize them by paying higher prices here in the US. Allow reimportation on a massive scale and the number of shortages will explode exponentially.
Wouldn't that be a good thing in showing the graft in the system? Why should Americans subsidize Canadians and Australians?
 

steross

Bookface/Instagran legend
A/V Subscriber
Mar 31, 2004
24,710
31,034
1,743
oklahoma city
#7
Yeah, but shortages hurt people.
So does not being able to afford medication.

We are flat broke and still feel we should cover our allies militarily and subsidize their health while our own system flails and they deride us for it. We have to start changing and accept some discomfort from the change. Otherwise, at some point change will be forced upon us and the discomfort will be true pain.
 

OSU Sig

Federal Marshal
Jan 28, 2005
16,154
3,980
1,743
63
Edmond
#10
I admit I am woefully ignorant of the details and potential results of obamacare. I'm learning much from this discussion.
 
Feb 11, 2007
3,965
1,849
1,743
Oklahoma City
#11
You are an honest man...until Obamacare is finally put into place by more than 200 federal agencies and departments whose opinion of the law becomes regulations we will not know what Obamacare is..and that will be years in the making.
 

State

Russian Bot
A/V Subscriber
Mar 15, 2007
13,771
8,071
1,743
TX
#12
Yeah, but, if there is a shortage then even people who can afford them can't get them. On the whole, shortages are worse.
Not sure I'm following your logic here. If we allowed the importation of drugs at a lower price, the total supply of the drug in the US would increase and the average price for the drug would decrease. It would essentially be a sales run on the drug. Of course those wanting the drug would desire it at the lower price, but when they can't get it they're no worse off than they were before.
 

RxCowboy

Has no Rx for his orange obsession.
A/V Subscriber
Nov 8, 2004
65,281
47,637
1,743
Wishing I was in Stillwater
#13
Right now Pharma sells Canada about a 10th of what they sell in the US. We support the Canadian price controls by paying higher prices here. But if we reimport a crapload, profits would drop because of the prices controls, and if you fix prices without controlling costs you create shortages. Shortages are bad. If you have a spinal cord injury but there is a shortage of methylprenisolone you are simply screwed, whether you have money or not. If your kid needs doxorubicin to treat her cancer but the plant is down because the margins are too thin for the company to fix the nroken machinary then your kid dies. Shortages are bad.

Sent from my DROID2 using Tapatalk 2
 

RxCowboy

Has no Rx for his orange obsession.
A/V Subscriber
Nov 8, 2004
65,281
47,637
1,743
Wishing I was in Stillwater
#14
There are reasons why no politician wants to author a bill proposing price controls of prescription pharmaceuticals. One of the reasons, evidently, is that Pharma buys support. The other reason is that it really would have a negative effect on availability. What Bush passed in 2005 has been bad enough.

Sent from my DROID2 using Tapatalk 2
 

State

Russian Bot
A/V Subscriber
Mar 15, 2007
13,771
8,071
1,743
TX
#15
Right now Pharma sells Canada about a 10th of what they sell in the US. We support the Canadian price controls by paying higher prices here. But if we reimport a crapload, profits would drop because of the prices controls, and if you fix prices without controlling costs you create shortages. Shortages are bad. If you have a spinal cord injury but there is a shortage of methylprenisolone you are simply screwed, whether you have money or not. If your kid needs doxorubicin to treat her cancer but the plant is down because the margins are too thin for the company to fix the nroken machinary then your kid dies. Shortages are bad.

Sent from my DROID2 using Tapatalk 2
Ya know, your parroting of 'shortages are bad' is wearing a little thin. Shortages in and of themselves are not bad, they're just an indicator that demand exceeds supply at a specific price point. Look at a drug dealer example. He's offering an ounce of marijuana for $20 and has more people lined up outside his door to buy than he has ganja to sell. That's a shortage. If he were smart he would recognize it and increase his price per ounce to stem demand. Is the lack of adequate marijuana supply a bad thing in your eyes Rx?

Though much of what you've said has been unclear, you might be talking about a scarcity, where the supply just isn't there at any price.
 

State

Russian Bot
A/V Subscriber
Mar 15, 2007
13,771
8,071
1,743
TX
#17
No one dies without marijuana. People die without vancomycin. It is an apples and oranges comparison. Drug shortages are bad in and of themselves.
No, they're not. You're incorrect in terminology and in your economic understandings, but I can see you've made the decision to be stubborn rather than rational.
 

RxCowboy

Has no Rx for his orange obsession.
A/V Subscriber
Nov 8, 2004
65,281
47,637
1,743
Wishing I was in Stillwater
#18
Yes, the vancomycin shortage vs. marijuana shortage is an apples and oranges comparison. People can simply choose another recreational drug if there is a marijuana shortage, and there are plenty of others readily available. When you need vancomycin you really don't have any other choices. You are incorrect in your understanding of therapeutics and I can see you've made the decision to be stubborn rather than rational.
 

State

Russian Bot
A/V Subscriber
Mar 15, 2007
13,771
8,071
1,743
TX
#19
Yes, the vancomycin shortage vs. marijuana shortage is an apples and oranges comparison. People can simply choose another recreational drug if there is a marijuana shortage, and there are plenty of others readily available. When you need vancomycin you really don't have any other choices. You are incorrect in your understanding of therapeutics and I can see you've made the decision to be stubborn rather than rational.
A shortage of any kind is a signal. After a natural disaster a shortage is a signal to store owners to increase the price on water, batteries, etc so that any one person doesn't buy the whole supply at the expense of all the others looking to purchase. If it's a price controlled life-saving drug, it's a signal to the manufacturer to increase production so that the available supply equals demand. In either case, the shortage itself is information, not a bad.

Your original stipulation- that re-importation would lead to shortages wouldn't affect the current supply of the drug in the US. The total availability of the drug would increase. There may be a shortage of the re-imported drugs if they're sold at a lower price (anyone who needs the drug will want to pay less for it if it's offered for less) but if the lower priced supply ran out they're still better off than they were before because the US sold drug at the higher price is still available.