hat tip – a JJP reader

From HuffingtonPost.com

Baucus Bill Sticks To Pharma Deal That Supposedly Wasn’t Struck
First Posted: 09-18-09 02:15 PM | Updated: 09-18-09 03:31 PM

The bill unveiled by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus has been blasted as a major giveaway to insurance companies. But the even bigger winners are the drug makers.

That’s because the Baucus bill matches up, nearly to the letter, with the secret deal that he, the White House and Big Pharma struck over the summer — a deal the various parties roundly denied had been struck when it went public.

In August, the Huffington Post published a memo that outlined exactly what each side was going to do for the other. And Big Pharma was getting a lot more than they were giving up.

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America senior vice president Ken Johnson said that the outline “is simply not accurate.” White House spokesman Reid Cherlin concurred: “This memo isn’t accurate and does not reflect the agreement with the drug companies.”

But now that the bill is out, let’s fact check those denials.

1) The memo said that PhRMA would “[a]gree to increase of Medicaid rebate from 15.1 – 23.1%”.

The finance bill, on page 56, increases the Medicaid rebates for patented drugs from 15.1 to 23.1 percent.

2) The memo said that the parties had agreed “to get FOBs done.” FOBs refer to follow-on biologic drugs – vaccines and other drugs made from living cells that are the fastest growing field of pharmaceutical research.

PhRMA wants extended patent protections from generic biologic drug makers. A finance committee aide said that the Baucus bill doesn’t address biologics, leaving that to the Senate health committee’s bill. The health committee bill gives drug makers 12 years of market exclusivity — five more than the White House proposed — and allows a 12-year extension with a minor tweak to the drug. The protection is worth billions to drug makers and is entirely unnecessary to encourage research, according to the Federal Trade Commission, which recommended zero years of market exclusivity.

“Already biologics take up at least 30% of Medicare part B spending and this proposal has been rolled into the overall health care reform bill, which is meant create cost savings, which it will not do,” Jane Andrews, a medical student at the Johns Hopkins University and a member of Universities Allied for Essential Medicines, wrote in an e-mail to HuffPost. “It’s simply a giveaway to BIO/PhRMA from Congress supported by the American Association of Universities.”

Check (more or less.)

Read rest of article at link above.

INTERESTING, don’t ya think?

Uh huh.

No wonder folks are desperate to get this SHAM out of committee.

Interesting how the bread crumbs seem to all drop into place.

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