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Thread: Internal Memo Confirms Big Giveaways to PhRMA

  1. #1

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    03-17-18 @ 05:08 PM

    Internal Memo Confirms Big Giveaways to PhRMA

    1. Obama held a secret meeting (July 7) with reps from PhRMA which accomplished quite a lot

    2. He lied about it, tried to deny the meeting took place

    3. He outraged congress, which sees his going over their heads in the dark and committing them to outrageous agreements as approaching dictatorial

    4. He promised PhRMA that he would oppose congressional efforts to reduce drug costs

    5. He would oppose importation of meds from Canada

    6. He'd halt rebates in Medicare Plan D which would cost the pharmaceuticals billions in reimbursements

    7. He agreed to "non intereference," in other words, he consented to the "status quo," pledging the govt not to press PhRMA to negotiatate downward drug prices

    8. He was promised in return up to but not more than 80 bil in price discounts to the public for pills over the next 10 years

    9. He also blatantly broke several basic campaign vows---his promise to drive down drug prices, for one

    10. Also, his commitment to conduct negotiations in the open

    11. He's also looking forward to a $150 million dollar ad campaign (more than McCain spent in all 08) by PhRMA pushing obamacare

    12. Except the house and the senate have revolted, led by Pelosi, Waxman, Sharrod Brown and Byron Dorgan

    13. Obama supporters are hoping the president is just playing PhRMA for now, with a mind to double cross the lobbyist down the road

    14. While the White House and PhRMA are denying the delicious details, the New York Times and LA Times are confirming them

    15. Congressional libs feel "sold short"

    Internal Memo Confirms Big Giveaways In White House Deal With Big Pharma

    A memo obtained by the Huffington Post confirms that the White House and the pharmaceutical lobby secretly agreed to precisely the sort of wide-ranging deal that both parties have been denying over the past week.

    The memo, which according to a knowledgeable health care lobbyist was prepared by a person directly involved in the negotiations, lists exactly what the White House gave up, and what it got in return.

    It says the White House agreed to oppose any congressional efforts to use the government's leverage to bargain for lower drug prices or import drugs from Canada -- and also agreed not to pursue Medicare rebates or shift some drugs from Medicare Part B to Medicare Part D, which would cost Big Pharma billions in reduced reimbursements.

    In exchange, the Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers Association (PhRMA) agreed to cut $80 billion in projected costs to taxpayers and senior citizens over ten years. Or, as the memo says: "Commitment of up to $80 billion, but not more than $80 billion."

    Representatives from both the White House and PhRMA, shown the outline, adamantly denied that it reflected reality. PhRMA senior vice president Ken Johnson said that the outline "is simply not accurate." "This memo isn't accurate and does not reflect the agreement with the drug companies," said White House spokesman Reid Cherlin.

    Stories in the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times last week indicated that the administration was confirming that such a deal had been made.

    Critics on Capitol Hill and online responded with outrage at the reports that Obama had gone behind their backs and sold the reform movement short. Furthermore, the deal seemed to be a betrayal of several promises made by then-Sen. Obama during the presidential campaign, among them that he would use the power of government to drive down the costs of drugs to Medicare and that negotiations would be conducted in the open.

    And over the past several days, both the White House and PhRMA have offered a series of sometimes conflicting accounts of what happened in an attempt to walk back the story.

    The White House meeting took place on July 7th, as first reported that evening in the Wall Street Journal. Also on the same day, a health care lobbyist following the talks was provided the outline of the deal by a person inside the negotiations. That outline had been floating around K Street before being obtained by the Huffington Post. In order to learn more about its origin, HuffPost agreed not to reveal the name of the lobbyist who originally received it.

    "That is the PhRMA deal," said the lobbyist of the outline. He then clarified, "It was the PhRMA deal."

    The deal, as outlined in the memo:

    Commitment of up to $80 billion, but not more than $80 billion.

    1. Agree to increase of Medicaid rebate from 15.1 - 23.1% ($34 billion)

    2. Agree to get FOBs done (but no agreement on details -- express disagreement on data exclusivity which both sides say does not affect the score of the legislation.) ($9 billion)

    3. Sell drugs to patients in the donut hole at 50% discount ($25 billion)
    This totals $68 billion

    4. Companies will be assessed a tax or fee that will score at $12 billion. There was no agreement as to how or on what this tax/fee will be based.

    Total: $80 billion

    In exchange for these items, the White House agreed to:

    1. Oppose importation

    2. Oppose rebates in Medicare Part D

    3. Oppose repeal of non-interference

    4. Oppose opening Medicare Part B

    "Non-interference" is the industry term for the status quo, in which government-driven price negotiations are barred. In other words, the government is "interfering" in the market if it negotiates lower prices. The ban on negotiating was led through Congress in 2003 by then-Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.), who is now the head of PhRMA.

    The Medicare Part B item refers to "infusion drugs," which can be administered at home. If they fall under Part B, Big Pharma gets paid more than under Part D. The agreement would leave infusion drugs in Part B.

    PhRMA's Johnson cast doubts on the provenance of the outline. "The memo, as described, is simply not accurate," he said in a statement. "Anyone could have written it. Unless it comes from our board of directors, it's not worth the paper it's written on. Clearly, someone is trying to short circuit our efforts to try and make health care reform a reality this year. That's not going to happen. Too much is at stake for both patients and the U.S. economy. Our new ads supporting health care reform are starting this week, and we are redoubling our efforts to drive awareness of why this issue is so important to America's future."

    But the lobbyist who was given the outline defended its authenticity. And although the White House now says that drug price negotiations and reimportation were not actually discussed in the talks with PhRMA, the lobbyist said: "Well, that's bull -- that's baloney. That was part of the deal, for them not to push that."

    The new uncertainty surrounding the deal comes after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has repeatedly said that her chamber is not bound by any agreement it is not a party to. On July 8th, the day after the Journal reported some elements of the deal, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman said in a public speech that his committee would not be tied down by the agreement.

    Before recess, he followed through. His committee passed a bill that allowed for re-importation and drug-price negotiations.

    In the Senate, Democrats Sherrod Brown and Byron Dorgan pressed White House officials at a closed-door meeting last week, asking whether the White House had tied the Senate's hands.

    The health care lobbyist said that what deal still exists is uncertain, as a result of House pressure. "Now the White House is backing away from it, as you know, because of pressure from the House, because the House was not a party to the deal," he said. "The Speaker put enormous pressure on the White House, [saying], 'We weren't a party to it and we reserve the right to do whatever we want.' And which they did in the House Energy and Commerce Committee bill, which led the White House to say, 'Well, maybe it's not cast in concrete.'"

    Obama is walking a tightrope here. He wants to keep PhRMA from opposing the bill, and benefits by having its support, which now includes a $150 million advertising campaign. That's a fortune in politics -- more than John McCain spent on advertising during his entire campaign -- but it's loose change in the pharmaceutical business.

    Opponents of the deal with PhRMA hope that Obama is playing a multilayered game, making a deal in order to keep the drug makers in his camp for now, but planning to double-cross them in the end if he needs to in order to pass his signature initiative.

    Big Pharma, however, is still comfortable. "As far as the pharmaceutical industry, PhRMA and its member companies, yes, they say a deal is a deal. We'll see what happens," said the health care lobbyist.
    Robert Reich, Bill Clinton's Labor Secty, wrote a scathing editorial on his website in which he bewailed the "threat to democracy" and worries that "our democracy is in terrible shape."

    I'll give you the first paragraph of Reich and a link to the rest:

    Iím a strong supporter of universal health insurance, and a fan of the Obama administration. But Iím appalled by the deal the White House has made with the pharmaceutical industryís lobbying arm to buy their support.
    How the White House’s Deal With Big Pharma Undermines Democracy

    The Prof

  2. #2

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    05-21-18 @ 11:15 AM

    Re: Internal Memo Confirms Big Giveaways to PhRMA

    No one should be surprised. Chicago style politics at it's finest.


  3. #3
    RightinNYC's Avatar
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    01-23-11 @ 10:56 PM
    Slightly Conservative

    Re: Internal Memo Confirms Big Giveaways to PhRMA

    This seems a little concerning.

    I don't really have a problem with these things happening, but they usually have the courtesy to close the doors to the sausage room.
    People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

  4. #4
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    08-27-09 @ 07:41 PM

    Re: Internal Memo Confirms Big Giveaways to PhRMA

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post
    This seems a little concerning.

    I don't really have a problem with these things happening, but they usually have the courtesy to close the doors to the sausage room.
    I'm all this back room dealing and sausage making.....where's the "reform"?

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