I'll slip this in on the weekend because it's not really news and it's not at all surprising. PhRMA CEO Billy Tauzin is opposed to having the feds negotiate Medicare drug prices. The Medicare drug legislation he fought so hard to get passed while a Çongressman- even being singled out for praise by President Bush - bans such price negotiations. It closes the door on Medicare being able to wield its massive purchasing power in a way that could help health care consumers.
But that's not the way good old boy Billy sees it.
From the Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report last week:
Allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices on behalf of beneficiaries could reduce the number of drugs the program offers and result in higher costs for beneficiaries, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America President and CEO Billy Tauzin said Wednesday, CQ HealthBeat reports. According to Tauzin, Medicare now offers access to thousands of drugs because the program relies on private-sector competition. Tauzin, speaking at a media roundtable, said, "When you put the government in the process you freeze out the private sector."
HHS Secretary-designate and former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) last week in testimony before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee said the idea of allowing the secretary to negotiate drug prices "ought to be evaluated and looked at." Supporters of the idea have said it could save taxpayers billions of dollars and lower drug prices for all U.S. residents
It'll be fun to watch Billy function without his buddy in the White House.
By the way, if you never saw the 60 Minutes profile of Tauzin's role in the passage of the Medicare drug legislation, give it a look someday.