B12 Solipsism

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Lobbying vs Good Policy

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Drug companies are fretting that their huge advertising budgets won’t be large enough to sell their expensive drugs at the expense of cheaper generics, so are ramping up lobbying efforts.

Crack in your Bridge

U.S. drugmakers led by Merck & Co. and Biogen Idec Inc. are stepping up their fight against President Barack Obama’s move to encourage cheaper medical care.

Already the biggest spender on influencing policy, the drug industry is hiring well-known individuals, some with stories of personal battles against disease. They include Tony Coelho, a former House Democratic leader who has epilepsy; Andrea LaRue, counsel to Tom Daschle when he was Senate Democratic leader; and the firm of Democratic fundraiser Tony Podesta, brother of Obama adviser John Podesta.

The firepower shows the drug industry’s resolve to stop Obama from using comparisons of medical treatments to force cuts in health costs. More than half of medical care may be based on insufficient evidence of effectiveness, the Congressional Budget Office said in March. Meantime, the Health and Human Services Department says all medical spending will probably rise this year to $2.5 trillion, or 18 percent of the economy.

“The companies fear that older generic drugs might very well turn out to be better than the newer advertised drugs, which bring in much more of a profit,” said Julian Zelizer, a history and public affairs professor at Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey. “In difficult economic times, the drug companies don’t want to take any risks, so they are bringing out the biggest lobbyists in the business.”

[Click to continue reading Merck, Biogen Boost Lobbying to Defy Obama’s Drug Comparisons – Bloomberg.com ]

Pathetic, but will undoubtedly be effective. In these sorts of matters, money usually trumps good policy. Would be surprised if the Obama administration (and 111th Congress) would be any different.

Written by Seth Anderson

April 17th, 2009 at 9:39 am

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