Well, we now know that 42 bipartisan members of the House were willing to act as PhRMA’s fax machines. I guess it shouldn’t have been a surprise — 80 House Dems signed a letter to Henry Waxman, telling him to substitute the White House PhRMA deal for his own much stronger language.
The question is, what are the Senate Democrats going to do about it?
|Fighting PhRMA||Owned by PhRMA|
|Script: “Thank Senator X for standing up to PhRMA and making biologic ‘drugs of the future’ available as generics on behalf of those with childhood diabetes, cancer and AIDS. Please keep fighting and bring this bill to the floor as Senate amendment.”||Script: “Will Senator X continue to do PhRMA’s bidding just like 42 Members of the House did and grant endless monopolies to drug companies on drugs developed with taxpayer dollars, or will they support Senator Brown’s amendment to make lifesaving biologic drugs available as affordable generics in my lifetime?”|
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Eshoo’s Senate partner in patent pilfering is Kay Hagan. She offered up the same PhRMA-approved language that would give an “indefinite monopoly” (in the words of Henry Waxman) to PhRMA on lifesaving biologic drugs, which would prevent them from ever coming into generic form, also per Waxman. And we’re not talking about the difference between $10 and $50 here — we’re talking about $50,000 or $300,000 a year, costs that could forever put them out of affordability range even with insurance for most Americans, let alone third world country. Notably, if an AIDS vaccine ever came on the market, it would be a biologic.
There was a better Waxman-style alternative in the Senate, offered by Chuck Schumer and Sherrod Brown, which was defeated in the HELP Committee. Brown is now deciding whether to bring it to the floor as an amendment or not, which is why Anna Eshoo’s lovely picture graces a button on the top right side of this page. After yesterday’s article in the NY Times, I can think of 42 good reasons why he should.
So here’s the good guys and the bad guys. And yes, David Vitter IS a cosponsor of the Brown-Schumer biologics bill, so that tells you what a complete pile of shit the Eshoo-Hagan bill is. Give them a call and ask them what they plan to do about it.
After the shameful lesson of what happened with 42 members of the House, if we can’t do any better in the Senate — PhRMA really does pwn the entire country.