Thursday, August 13, 2009

Big Pharma, Big Lies

Obama is having a bad week. Support for health care reform support has fallen dramatically, and he was caught telling a few lies at his health care townhall, not the least of which was saying that the AARP had endorsed his bill (Gibbs said he "mis-spoke).

Like I said earlier, I think I need only to quote Democrats from now on on health care because so many seem to be getting it. But to imagine that the Huffington Post, of all places, would break this story, is,'s just amazing:

A memo obtained by the Huffington Post confirms that the White House and the pharmaceutical lobby secretly agreed to precisely the sort of wide-ranging deal that both parties have been denying over the past week.

The memo, which according to a knowledgeable health care lobbyist was prepared by a person directly involved in the negotiations, lists exactly what the White House gave up, and what it got in return.

It says the White House agreed to oppose any congressional efforts to use the government's leverage to bargain for lower drug prices or import drugs from Canada -- and also agreed not to pursue Medicare rebates or shift some drugs from Medicare Part B to Medicare Part D, which would cost Big Pharma billions in reduced reimbursements.

In exchange, the Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers Association (PhRMA) agreed to cut $80 billion in projected costs to taxpayers and senior citizens over ten years. Or, as the memo says: "Commitment of up to $80 billion, but not more than $80 billion."

Representatives from both the White House and PhRMA, shown the outline, adamantly denied that it reflected reality. PhRMA senior vice president Ken Johnson said that the outline "is simply not accurate." "This memo isn't accurate and does not reflect the agreement with the drug companies," said White House spokesman Reid Cherlin.

And like Ace points out, Big Pharma also agreed to spend $150 million on pro health care reform ads this month. We aren't sure if this is even legal, but we do know that the Obama administration has been lying about this. This was a secret memo, secret transactions, secret deals with Big Pharma. What happened to "transparency?" Please. That was a lie too.

The worst thing to me? Pres. Obama going on and on, claiming he can find additional "savings" in drug spending, when in fact he has already promised a deal with the drug companies to not get a penny more in savings from them.

Does Obama just think that people will shrug off these lies? This is one of the reasons support for health care reform is diminishing. People don't believe you when it's clear that you have been lying to them.