Unfortunately, I don’t have the link to this article, but here’s some excerpts:
The pharmaceutical industry was in the enviable position two years ago
of having the right friends in the right places in Washington.
Billy Tauzin, the Republican lawmaker, and Thomas Scully, who ran
Medicare during President George W. Bush’s first term, were leaving
their respective posts to lobby for the drugs industry after securing
the addition of a pharma-friendly prescription drug subsidy in the
federal healthcare programme for the elderly.
Another ally in the Senate, Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, had emerged
as a powerful player in Congress and was considered a presidential
And now–a new playing field:
Now the prospects of the industry’s giants have taken a turn. After
spending an estimated $10m on Republican incumbent
candidates ahead of this year’s mid-term elections – Democrats received
about $4.5m – no other sector is expected to face as hostile a
reception on Capitol Hill after the Democrats take over in 2007.
Shares in US and European pharmaceutical companies tumbled in the days
after the election, with Pfizer, Eli Lilly and Novartis each down 5 per
cent or more. The New York Stock Exchange Healthcare Index recovered
slightly last week after a sharp drop.
Nancy Pelosi, incoming Speaker of the House, who once accused Mr Tauzin
of “selling seniors down the river” for $2m – the sum the Louisiana
Republican was reportedly paid to join the association he now runs,
PhRMA – says one of her priorities will be to give the government the
power to negotiate Medicare drug prices.
Other lawmakers, including Henry Waxman, the representative, are
expected to target the industry by calling hearings on issues ranging
from marketing to drug safety.
Congress is also expected to increase
its scrutiny of the industry’s chief regulator, the Food and Drug
Administration. The industry will face this harsh new reality without
the support of Mr Santorum, who lost his re-election bid.
It will be interesting to see how the next few months will play out for the drug industry, especially if the Dems follow through with their campaign promise to allow Medicare to negotiate with the drug industry for lower drug prices for its Part D program.
At any rate, things have changed since Thanksgiving Day four years ago…