Pharma mulls $100M reform-ad campaign

You've heard that drugmakers have funded a new Harry-and-Louise ad campaign for healthcare reform. You may have even seen some of the commercials. Well, get ready for lots more pharma-backed advertising--because the industry is considering ploughing $100 million or more into a campaign beginning as early as September, sources told Bloomberg.

The current plan is to run television commercials in August in states where drugmakers maintain operations, depicting pharma as a linchpin of local economies, PhRMA SVP Ken Johnson told the news service. Then in September, PhRMA may back a huge healthcare reform push, with ads aimed at supporting reform efforts the industry can believe in.

We already know what the industry doesn't believe in: government price negotiation, even for Medicare drugs. That's one reason why pharma was so quick to step up with promises of cost cuts. That $80 billion pledge was designed to forestall provisions drugmakers don't like, such as price negotiation and drug reimportation from lower-cost markets such as Canada. Now, of course, that agreement looks rather limited, because a) the House doesn't recognize it, because it was settled with Sen. Max Baucus; and b) some Democratic Senators are saying pharma price cuts shouldn't be off the table. No wonder drugmakers want to take their case to the public.

- read the Bloomberg piece