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At other times, he has talked about rolling back regulations and named an industry-friendly former congressman, Tom Price, to head the Department of Health and Human Services, and a former pharmaceutical consultant, Scott Gottlieb , to lead the Food and Drug Administration. Members of Congress have put forward a grab-bag of options, each of which would help or hurt different industry players. Some address minor aspects, such as a bipartisan bill that would force brand-name drugmakers to hand over samples of their drugs to generic competitors. One would allow for the importing of cheaper drugs.
Another would force pharmacy benefit managers to disclose more information about how they did business. The brand-name drug industry is the dominant player.
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It spends the most on campaign contributions, has the largest army of lobbyists and has the biggest pile of chits among lawmakers to try to protect its own interests. A second set of PhRMA ads point blame for price increases elsewhere, like benefit managers and health insurers.
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In doing so, PhRMA is seeking to rehabilitate a reputation that was damaged by the actions of companies like Turing Pharmaceuticals, which sharply hiked the price of a decades-old medicine. Though Turing was never a member of the group, PhRMA recently purged nearly two dozen companies from its membership after it voted to exclude investor-driven drug companies like Turing.
Nearly every week that Congress is in session, the industry holds fund-raisers at private clubs and restaurants to help bankroll the re-election campaigns of its allies. One former lobbyist for PhRMA recently boasted that he had once organized six fund-raising events in a two-day period. He asked that he not be named because the fund-raising efforts are supposed to be confidential. The industry had reason to thank Mr. He also co-sponsored legislation that threatened to block it, which became moot after the Obama administration backed down.
A spokesman for Mr. Shimkus said his actions were intended to protect cancer patients — pointing to a clinic in his district he said might close if the Medicare program had gone into effect — not the pharmaceutical industry.
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But other participants said industry influence — as drug companies attempted to preserve their bottom line — had played a decisive role. When you take on pharma, you take on this whole town. Stephen J. Brand Saftey.
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