Report: PhRMA spent $25M on friendly lawmakers

PhRMA still has its eyes on healthcare reform. In his first interview since taking the association's reins, John Castellani (photo) tells Politico that he doesn't see a wholesale repeal happening--and he's happy about that. But he does see some tinkering that could go in drugmakers' favor.

In fact, PhRMA spent some big bucks to back candidates who supported healthcare reform the first time around, Politico reports. Some $25 million went into the 2010 campaign, with "millions" of that supporting Sen. Harry Reid, who ushered reform through the Senate, and another chunk backing Sen. Patty Murray, who helped branded drugmakeres by backing a 12-year exclusivity period for biologic drugs.

Now, Castellani is eyeing the Medicare payment board, a provision of healthcare reform that pharma never has liked--and that Eli Lilly CEO John Lechleiter, for one, wasted no time in targeting once the election results were in. And Castellani would like to remove a provision that requires businesses to file tax forms on transactions worth more than $600.

But pulling out parts of the reform law can't be done willy-nilly, he said during the interview, "because certain pieces cause it all to collapse." And one of those key pieces is, of course, the much-debated insurance-coverage mandate that promises to add millions of new drug-buying customers--and to help defray the $80 billion-plus in cuts that pharma contributed to the reform effort.

- read the Politico story