Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Will Dems Bring Change?

Bloomberg has a good article on some Democrats’ plans to change drug-friendly legislation and what might stop such reforms from occurring, from which I’ll quote:

Industry leaders including Jim Greenwood, the president of the Washington-based Biotechnology Industry Organization, say they expect the House to pass a change to the 2003 Medicare legislation that would let the federal government directly negotiate prices for the 22.5 million elderly and disabled citizens enrolled in the drug plan.


It can take 60 votes in the Senate to consider legislation, and Democrats will have only a 51-49 majority; even if a measure got to Bush, he would probably veto it, Greenwood says. Overturning a veto requires two-thirds majorities in both chambers.


Kennedy, 74, and the outgoing chairman of his committee, Wyoming Republican Senator Michael Enzi, 62, are working on a bill that places additional requirements on companies and the Food and Drug Administration for the advertising and monitoring of new drugs. And lawmakers including North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan, 64, will push to let Americans buy cheaper medicines from Canada.

Lawmakers are also trying to design a process to allow FDA clearance of the first generic versions of major biotech drugs. Generic medicines often sell for about a third the price of brand-name products.


``We are looking at supporting policy makers who share similar philosophies on access to quality health care,'' says Pfizer spokesman Jack Cox. Greenwood and Johnson say their groups and members are reaching out to more Democrats, and they expect industry political giving to shift.

``The Democrats want to leverage their power to generate some PAC donations from a very wealthy industry,'' Tufts University's Berry says. ``With one hand they're going to spank the industry, and with another hand they're going to hold their hands palms up.''

My View:Pay close attention to the last two paragraphs. Some Dems, like Waxman, are not likely to be bought off. Others are not so likely to resist the cash. Additionally, though the Decider in Chief does not like to use his veto very often, look for him to slap down any legislation that disses his pals in the drug industry. There may be some token reforms, but nothing meaningful is likely at this point.

Hat tip to PharmaGossip.

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