Pharma may lose another $10B to reform

Lawmakers are coming back to the pharma well. In an attempt to finance changes in the healthcare reform package, congressional leaders say they're considering an additional $10 billion in cuts to industry payments and/or new industry fees. That would bring the amount pharma brings to the reform package to $90 billion.

Well, it's not the additional $60 billion in cuts that some lawmakers had threatened. And in news stories about this potential increase, PhRMA hasn't been crying foul as it did about previous proposals for much bigger increases. Not to mention that if healthcare reform passes, pharma is likely to reap new sales from broadened insurance coverage.

So, we're tempted to say that the industry has all but agreed to that figure, whether for political points or public goodwill or to escape greater evils--such as Medicare price negotiation, drug reimportation, or some other much-feared systemic change. But we won't know just how the reform debate shakes out until a final bill comes up for vote. And even then, reform could be voted down, of course. That $90 billion total could change anytime.

- read the Wall Street Journal story