Be prepared for a barrage of commercials from pharmaceutical manufacturers telling you what a “tremendous deal” the health care reform package is. Clearly reform is a “tremendous deal” for them, otherwise they would not be pushing it so hard.

Please consider Drugmakers Consider Ad Campaign on Health Overhaul.

Drugmakers are considering a $100 million advertising campaign starting as early as September to push legislation that would overhaul the health care system, said a person familiar with the discussion.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the industry’s lobbying group, discussed funding the ad campaign during a meeting in Washington last week, the person said. PhRMA spokesman Ken Johnson said no decision has been reached on the group’s campaign strategy for when Congress reconvenes after the August recess.

PhRMA will be running television commercials in August promoting the importance of the drug industry on the economy in states where pharmaceutical companies have operations, Johnson said. PhRMA said they support measures to revamp the health care system and will contribute $80 billion over 10 years to lowering drug costs. They also stand ready to oppose legislation that would allow the government to directly negotiate prices on medicines sold through the prescription drug program of Medicare, the government’s health plan for the elderly and disabled.

Two people familiar with the discussions in Washington said the amount of money put into ads could increase to $120 million.

$8 Billion a year for 10 Years

Will PhRMA really lower costs by $80 billion? Who gets to measure? How much will PhRMA profit?

In order, the answers are no, PhRMA, and immense.

The last two questions are easy to figure out. The pharmaceutical manufacturers would not be spending $120 million in advertising if it did not mean immense profits for them. Note “They also stand ready to oppose legislation that would allow the government to directly negotiate prices on medicines sold through the prescription drug program of Medicare, the government’s health plan for the elderly and disabled.

In other words the manufacturers do not want group rates. US consumers pay the highest rates in the world for prescriptions. I would like to see legislation that would allow drug imports come in from Canada and for the rest of the world to pay their share of the costs.

By the way, the ads have already started. I saw one last night.

The more promotion there is for this package the more leery of it you should be. The reason the AMA, AARP, and now PhRMA are all lining up behind healthcare reform is because everyone of them has been bought out by sweeteners.

The manufacturers smell another handout at taxpayer expense. Don’t fall for it.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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