Whether we see Obama or McCain become the next U.S. president, the message is clear: The pharmaceutical industry can expect whoever wins to find ways to cut drug prices and to be far less friendly to the industry overall.
Obama says he will "take on the drug and insurance companies and hold them accountable for the prices they charge and the harm they cause" and McCain showed equal disdain. In fact, in this heated presidential race, going after big pharma to reduce overall health care spending is one of the few areas about which the two agree.
Following two presidential terms where the industry has been welcomed to influence both the Bush administration and Congress, the industry will have a tougher road to everything moving forward.
The industry itself seems to predict a shift in power towards the Democrats, however, as has the industry's main trade association, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, has upped contributions to 57 percent, up from only 21 percent in 2006. The trade group has also spent $13.2 million on ads supporting 28 Congressional candidates, 25 of whom are Democrats. For the first time in six election cycles, donations to both parties are about equal.
How will things change? Either Obama or McCain--and a Democratic Congress--will likely support the approval of more and more generic drugs, price cuts for Medicaid recipients and seniors overall and support greater importation from other countries.