The brand name prescription drug lobby PhRMA has been holding back on further support for health care reform until they are sure the final reconciliation package is still to the liking of the drug industry. The announcement that PhRMA plans to drop $6 million in a final round of pro-reform ads is a good indication that they received strong assurances that their secret deals with the Obama administration will be protected. From Politico:
A bit of good news for Democrats: PhRMA agreed Tuesday to fund an initial $6 million ad buy in the districts of 38 wavering House Democrats. The pro-reform ads will come from the industry-funded coalition Americans for Stable Quality Care and could hit the airwaves as early as today, a top industry official said. The deep-pocketed trade group didn’t decide how much it would spend in total on the campaign; officials are waiting to review the bill first.
Take this to be a sign that the reconciliation package will likely not include drug re-importation or direct Medicare drug price negotiations. Take this also as a good sign that the bill is unlikely to do anything to bring down prescription drug prices for the majority of Americans, despite the fact that we, on average, pay more for the same medications than any other industrialized nation.
Remember when Democrats rallied together as a party to nearly unanimously oppose Medicare Part D because it was written behind closed doors to win the support of PhRMA lobbyists? Remember when almost every Democrat, including Presidential candidate Barack Obama, promised to “fix” Medicare part D by passing drug re-importation and direct Medicare drug price negotiations? Remember? Because it appears everyone in Washington, DC and in the Democratic establishment is pretending that they forgot.