PhRMA ads to back Baucus reform plan

The Senate healthcare plan championed by Sen. Max Baucus is about to get a boost from pharma. The industry trade group PhRMA is prepping a series of TV ads that specifically support Baucus's version of healthcare reform, the New York Times reports. And no wonder: The Washington Post analyzed the Baucus bill and found that drugmakers are wholeheartedly in favor.

Baucus chairs the Senate Finance Committee, and he's the one who negotiated that famous $80 billion cost-cutting deal with the pharma industry. Now, he's the only one in charge of a reform plan that's been crafted in consultation with the Republicans, the Post says. That plan happens to hew closely enough to the $80 billion deal to get pharma's A-OK.

PhRMA chief Billy Tauzin enthused for the press after President Obama's reform speech last week. "This is our once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make a real difference," he said. "We will continue to be a constructive partner to help meet this goal."

Until now, the Times notes, PhRMA has spent some $12 million on general reform-is-good advertising. Now, however, PhRMA's money will go to support Baucus's plan. Reportedly, the group plans to spend up to $150 million on ads to make sure reform becomes reality. So get ready for the television onslaught.

- see the PhRMA release
- see the Times story
- check out the article in the Post