Newspaper logo  
 
 
Local News & Opinion

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Travel
Books, Films, Arts & Education
Letters
Open Letters:

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

08.03 Obama's clean power plan hailed as strongest ever climate action by US

08.03 Solar Desalination Could be a Game Changer for California Farms

08.02 ‘I drank the water and ate the fish. We all did. The acid has damaged me permanently’

08.01 Obamacare is (still) working: California puts the lie to right-wing horror stories

07.31 Climate models are even more accurate than you thought

07.31 Bernie Sanders: We Need Medicare for All, Not Cutbacks That Will Kill Our Seniors [Total spending can be cut 30-40% while increasing both quality and coverage]

07.31 Warren Buffett’s Family Secretly Funded a Birth Control Revolution [Thank you, Warren and Susan]

07.31 Obama will use veto to defend climate change plan if necessary

07.31 Hillary Clinton's climate change plan 'just plain silly', says leading expert

07.31 World Bank rejects energy industry notion that coal can cure poverty

News Media

08.01 Fox News’ biggest deception: Definitive proof that Bill O’Reilly doesn’t care about the preservation of life

Daily FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

08.03 Planned Parenthood: Rand Paul resists call for shutdown in defunding fight

08.03 Accident waiting to happen: the Ohio village that's built on a crumbling dam

08.03 Donald Trump backlash intensifies within GOP ahead of first 2016 debate

08.03 We’re Making Life Too Hard for Millennials [graphs]

08.02 All eyes on Trump as Republican debate nears, but Fox will be the real winner

08.02 Sorry, Hillary Clinton fans: her email errors are definitely newsworthy

08.02 Our Sex-Crazed Congress

08.01 Clinton and Bush take competing views on race inequality to Florida conference

08.01 Yes, I said it: Donald Trump supporters are living in a childlike fantasy land

08.01 The Koch Brothers’ twisted beauty pageant: The disturbing way they’re choosing which GOP candidate to buy

08.01 Secrets of the extreme religious right: Inside the frightening world of Christian Reconstructionism [Whatever furthers a Master-Slave Economy & Culture is just fine for them—including women without choices]

Justice Matters

08.03 Doctor becomes second American named in African lion-killing investigation: Pittsburgh gynecologist who has posed with dead elephants, hippos, zebras and ostriches 'killed lion in illegal hunt'

High Crimes?
Economics, Crony Capitalism

07.31 The Greek Coup: Liquidity as a Weapon of Coercion

07.31 IMF will refuse to join Greek bailout until debt relief demands are met

07.30 Lies, Damned Lies, and Greek Statistics

International

08.03 The Voyage of the Golden Rule

08.03 Erdogan's Cynical Game: Is Turkey Creeping Toward Civil War?

08.03 Inside the complicated world of online wildlife trafficking

08.02 Do Chinese People Lead More Nuanced Emotional Lives?

08.02 Yes, Racism Is Rooted in Economic Inequality

08.02 A new way to fight modern day slavery

08.02 A new way to fight modern day slavery

08.02 Global population set to hit 9.7 billion people by 2050 despite fall in fertility

08.02 Africa wealth report 2015: rich get richer even as poverty and inequality deepen

08.02 People smuggling: how it works, who benefits and how it can be stopped

08.02 The truth about the people and numbers in loud and furious migration debate [Aren't wars a stationary alternative to migration? To fix dysfunctional, corrupt governments without delay, we need to promote outsourcing of government functions to accountable (non-profit?) professional organizations w/ suite of best computer applications.]

08.02 Church attacks David Cameron’s lack of compassion over asylum crisis [1:04 video]

08.02 How to Live Wisely

08.01 Ascendant Kurds emerge from Syrian civil war as major power player

08.01 Canada's Liberals face bleak future – is it too late for Justin Trudeau to save them?

08.01 Obama's call to end female genital mutilation yet to reach Ethiopia's villages

We are a non-profit Internet-only newspaper publication founded in 1973. Your donation is essential to our survival.

You can also mail a check to:
Baltimore News Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 42581
Baltimore, MD 21284-2581
Google
This site Web
  Big Pharma Wins Big in Health Care Reform

COMMENTARY:

Big Pharma Wins Big in Health Care Reform

by James Ridgeway
First published in his blog Unsilent Generation yesterday, 22 March 2010
To a large extent, the “debate” over health care was a show debate, an extended round of Washington smoke and mirrors. The administration early on cut its deal with Big Pharma, and pretty much stuck to it throughout the process.

The Republicans look a sour lot this morning, but the pharmaceutical industry, which helps foot the campaign bills of a sizeable chunk of members of both parties, is delighted with the legislation, and with its Democratic friends in the White House and on the Hill.

Members of Congress in both parties generally have lined up behind the insurance and pharmaceutical industries from the get go. So it should come as no surprise that the Democrats, who long ago gave up any pretence of opposing corporate power, found a way to accomodate the pharmaceutical companies on the way to its tepid reform. To a large extent, the “debate” over health care was a show debate, an extended round of Washington smoke and mirrors. The administration early on cut its deal with Big Pharma, and pretty much stuck to it throughout the process.

In fact, the Dems actually made the drugsters look good, celebrating the industry’s generous “concessions” and “discounts” while ensuring that no real threat to Big Pharma’s profits would make their way into the final bill.

The industry’s main goal from the very beginning has been to fend off any government power to negotiate or seriously regulate drug prices–and this they did.

Big Pharma’s second big win was to prevent any measure that would have opened the way for American consumers to buy less expensive drugs abroad, especially from Canada.

At the same time, the supposed give-backs by the drug industry are projected to more than pay for themselves. The much-lauded discounts on brand name drugs for seniors in the Medicare prescription drug program, for example, are good for Big Pharma because they discourage oldsters from switching to generics.

And more insured people simply mean more money coming into the coffers, for Big Pharma as well as for the insurance industry.

Confirmation of the industry analysis came early in the day from the stock market, where drug stocks initially remained level; there certainly was no rush to dump shares, which is what would be expected if the bill actually represented any threat to profits. And by 1 p, EST, CNN Money was reporting a rally in health care stocks.

“I was unable to find anything in there that would cause me to have anxiety if I were a shareholder in a pharmaceutical company,” Ira Loss, a senior health-care analyst at the research firm Washington Analysis, told Dow Jones. According to the ticker story:

Billy Tauzin, who led the industry’s negotiations on health care with lawmakers, said overall drug makers fare well. “While we’re not totally happy,” Tauzin began, “we generally feel like it tracks with our principles.”

Sanofi-Aventis SA (SNY) Chief Executive Christopher Viehbacher said in an interview that the impact of the legislation will be neutral to slightly negative “but better for the industry than if healthcare reform didn’t pass.”

Tauzin, head of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America or PhRMA, and Viehbacher said getting protection for brand-name biologics is among the important provisions for the industry. Drug makers pushed hard to get 12 years of exclusive market protection while the White House and some lawmakers wanted to lower the protection to seven years.

Despite fees and rebates imposed by the legislation, “analysts say drug makers will end up recouping those costs through new customers: The bill would provide insurance coverage to an additional 32 million Americans.” The Dow Jones story continues:

Chalk up another good round for Pharma and Biotech in health care reform,” began a note to clients Friday from Concept Capital, a research firm.Ken Tsuboi, co-manager of the Allianz RCM Wellness Fund, sees the impact of bill, and its $90 billion in concessions over 10 years, as relatively minor in an industry that has annual global sales of about $750 billion, with about $300 billion in the U.S., and margins close to 30%.”I think that it is actually a pretty good deal for Pharma,” Tsuboi said.

The GOP, which purports to be the party of big business, ought to be applauding at least these portions of the health care reform—and perhaps when the cameras go away, some of them will quit bitching and count their blessings. As for the obnoxious Tea Party gang, if they start threatening the real power in this country, which is vested in corporations, they may well find themselves whipped and isolated.


Born in 1936, James Ridgeway has been reporting on politics for more than 45 years. He is currently Senior Washington Correspondent for Mother Jones, and recently wrote a blog on the 2008 presidential election for the Guardian online. He previously served as Washington Correspondent for the Village Voice; wrote for Ramparts and The New Republic; and founded and edited two independent newsletters, Hard Times and The Elements.

Ridgeway is the author of 16 books, including The Five Unanswered Questions About 9/11, It’s All for Sale: The Control of Global Resources, and Blood in the Face: The Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Nations, Nazi Skinheads, and the Rise of a New White Culture. He co-directed a companion film to Blood in the Face and a second documentary film, Feed, and has co-produced web videos for GuardianFilms.

Additional information and samples of James Ridgeway’s work can be found at JamesRidgeway.net and at his newest web site, Solitary Watch.

This article is republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.



Copyright © 2010 The Baltimore News Network. All rights reserved.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.

This story was published on March 23, 2010.
 



Public Service Ads:
Verifiable Voting in Maryland