With Democrats in control of the White House and Congress, Big Pharma leaders are busy planning how the industry will work with this new wave of politicians. President-elect Obama and other Democrats are looking to overhaul the country's healthcare system, which they say has grown far too costly and leaves over 45 million people uninsured. Democrats aren't pleased with the pharma industry's high drug prices, aggressive marketing and drug safety problems either. But leaders like Schering-Plough CEO Fred Hassan (photo) and Bayer CEO Arthur Higgins (photo) are stressing the need for Pharma to strengthen ties with the Democrats.
"[W]e're working very hard to build bridges...all we're asking for is we have some points to make. You don't have to accept those points, but we just ask you to listen. That's the beginning of a dialogue," noted Higgins. Pharma already laid the groundwork by donating heavily to Democrats during the campaign process.
An expanded healthcare system would benefit drug companies because it would give patients greater access to prescription drugs. On the flip side, however, the government could place pricing pressure on these drugs, which would cut into Big Pharma's bottom line. Industry group PHrMA is already planning a PR campaign touting the benefit of free-market healthcare system.
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