An honest-to-goodness vote on healthcare reform is getting closer, and you can bet that pharma and its advocates are working double-time behind the scenes. After all, PhRMA has already laid out millions on advertising in support of reform; that was its end of that ballyhooed $80 billion deal with the Senate and White House. Will the industry see lawmakers uphold that pledge?
The new healthcare proposal includes a clause that would allow an independent advisory board to cut Medicare prices for drugs. That's one of the major things PhRMA and drugmakers wanted to avoid, but the industry has opted not to continue fighting it for now, Politico reports. Instead, drugmakers will push back against that board if the reform package becomes law.
And that $80 billion in cost cuts is going to increase--at least to $90 billion. Lobbyists have been scrambling to contain that figure as lawmakers look to impose fees on the industry to help pay for the bill. The last-minute wrangling has caused "real heartburn" in the industry, one source told Politico.