Deficit commission eyes Medicare drug rebates

Drugmakers may have been heartened by the Republican takeover in the House. But for all the promise of tweaking the healthcare reform law in pharma-friendly ways, there's now a counterweight to those very plans: the report from President Obama's bipartisan deficit-cutting commission.

As Pharmalot points out, among the commission's recommendations are two that drugmakers are decidedly against. One, bigger drug-price rebates in Medicare Part D, a provision that the industry successfully fought during the healthcare reform debate. Two, strengthening the Independent Payment Advisory Board, the Medicare cost-control body that pharma would like to sweep out completely.

Of course, the commission's recommendations are just that, and it seems that everyone has issues with some of the proposals. If Congress and the White House actually go ahead and consider the commission's ideas seriously, expect a big battle among party types and special interests. And PhRMA will be right in there with them.

Criticizing the recommendations at Pharmalot, PhRMA SVP Wes Metheny invoked some key buzzwords--price controls, innovation, access to care--that tend to crop up when healthcare cuts are on the table. "We expect that many of the proposals included in this initial draft, such as increasing seniors' cost-sharing in Medicare by more than $100 billion, will receive much scrutiny in the coming weeks and months," Metheny told the blog.

- read the Pharmalot post