Good morning and welcome to a new day in America. Barack Obama will be the next person to lead our nation--backed by a Democrat majority in the House and Senate--and already industry experts already are wondering what the change will mean for big pharma and for the biotech industry.
Obama, as well as McCain, had both promised to target health care costs if elected, and those in the know in the pharma industry knew pharma would become a major target. Pharma dropped significant cash into the pockets of both contenders as a result, but perhaps predicted Obama's victory, as the piece of the campaign financing pie shifted towards the Democratic candidate more than it had in previous election cycles. In fact, the industry gave the Democrats 49 percent of its contributions for the 2008 election, donating to both parties nearly equally for the first time in nearly two decades.
While it looks like big pharma and the advertising and PR agencies that get the pharma word out are prepping for tighter regulation over direct-to-consumer advertising following Obama's January move into the White House, both will do so with little surprise.
Obama's plans include controlling prices on expensive biotech drugs, plans to regulate DTC advertising and a push toward generics. While lobbyists have thus far been successful in keeping DTC regulations at by, with a strong democratic presence, their success might be limited. Likewise, generic options, re-importation and greater price controls might be on the horizon.
Nonetheless, it seems that pharma industry marketers predicted early on that Obama was a better choice for it, as they increasingly relinquished their traditional Republican nods away from McCain. Obama, for his part, is likely to focus on the economy first, since it is the number one priority for voters on both sides of the election.
Contributions to both candidates totaled about $20 million for the 2008 election.