Newspaper logo  
 
 
Local Gov’t Stories, Events

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Travel
Books, Films, Arts & Education
Letters

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

06.28 US, Canada and Mexico pledge 50% of power from clean energy by 2025

06.28 How the London Array blows away the competition in green energy

06.28 69m children will die of preventable causes, says Unicef

06.27 This City Is Home to 820 Urban Farms and Quickly Becoming America’s Urban Ag Capital

06.27 Global air pollution crisis 'must not be left to private sector'

06.26 New pain drug being developed at University of Maryland could offer relief without addiction [a non-addicting, legally prescribed opioid drug would greatly reduce crime and and improve public health]

06.26 German government agrees to ban fracking after years of dispute

06.26 Coal-Plant Retirements in New England Have ‘Opened the Door’ for Alternatives

06.24 UK's out vote is a 'red alert' for the environment

06.24 66 million dead trees in California could fuel 'catastrophic' wildfires, officials say

06.22 Republicans Offer a Plan to Replace Obamacare

06.22 Women Take Over the Family Farm

06.22 Our new alliance unites 600m city dwellers in fight against climate change

06.22 California's last nuclear plant to close amid longstanding earthquake concerns

News Media Matters

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

06.28 Donald Trump’s campaign looks more like a con every day. The press should cover it accordingly

06.28 The Clinton Campaign Is Obstructing Change to the Democratic Platform

06.27 Fear, loathing and firearms: sensory overload inside the NRA's Mall of Death

06.27 Cracks deepen inside troubled marriage of Trump and Republican party

06.27 Decrying 'Jim Crow 2.0,' Advocates Demand Updated Voting Rights Before Election

06.27 Landmark Survey Finds Special Interests are Pouring Money into Local Elections

06.27 Betraying Progressives, DNC Platform Backs Fracking, TPP, and Israel Occupation

06.26 Mapping the Rise of Anti-LGBT Legislation on the First Anniversary of Nationwide Marriage Equality

06.26 Draft of Dems' policy positions reflects Sanders' influence

Justice Matters

06.28 Clinton hails Texas abortion decision a 'victory for women', Trump stays silent

06.24 Experts ask for new investigation into disappearance of 43 Mexican students

High Crimes?

06.21 THE SHADOW DOCTORS

Economics, Crony Capitalism

06.26 Coal Industry on the Brink in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah

International

06.28 Farc rebel leader: ‘We repent everything, not just the war’

06.28 Kenya clamps down on journalists covering war on al-Shabaab

06.28 Family rifts over Brexit: ‘I can barely look at my parents’ [since the EU break-up–'said' by vote–won't actually occur for 2 years, why not have a make-up EU vote to reverse the horrible consequences?]

06.28 After a campaign scarred by bigotry, it’s become OK to be racist in Britain

06.27 First ship sails through newly expanded Panama canal

06.27 Post-referendum chaos shows the inadequacy of our political class

06.27 $4 Indian smartphones 'will ship this week'

06.27 AFGHANISTAN’S THEORIST-IN-CHIEF

06.26 What's the British Equivalent of 'Moving to Canada'?

06.26 BREXIT MAKES THE U.S. THE LAST, BEST HOPE FOR LIBERALISM

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