Dems 'hit nerve' with pharma probes

It's not personal, it's political. When the Republicans were in charge on Capitol Hill, drugmakers were in favor--or so it appeared to the minority party. "There was the perception that certain industries, including pharmaceuticals, were getting away with a lot," one pharma lobbyist says.

Now that the Dems run Congress, they're turning the tables. The Energy and Commerce Committee has sent out 39 requests for info from drug makers, plus two rounds of subpoenas. And that has drug makers nervous. As another lobbyist told Politico, "Once they start asking for things, you don't know where it will go."

Billy Tauzin, who runs the industry association PhRMA, is taking a "conciliatory tone," saying that his ex-colleagues are acting in the public interest. But other lobbyists contend the Dems are simply acting out of "pent-up hatred ..for the [industry's] long-standing bankrolling of the Republicans." Of course, the Democrats say it's all about substance. "The whole safety net...has been shredded," says Rep. Bart Stupak, who's been at the forefront of several investigations. But he couldn't help boasting a bit, too: "You know you're hitting a nerve when the halls are flooded with their lobbyists."

- read the piece at Politico