Brazen Billy Tauzin & Pharma's Lock on US Health Care Spending

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Former US Senator David Durenberger writes in his weekly e-mail newsletter:

Former Democratic and Republican Congressman and PhaRMA exec Billy Tauzin brazenly told the White House that they'd made a deal to contribute $80 billion over 10 years to reducing the cost of health care and it was the White House's job to make sure the Democratic Congress stuck to the deal. Said brazen Billy: "Who is ever going into a deal with the White House again if they don't keep their word? You are just going to duke it out instead."


Within a few short hours, the Democratic leadership in the House told Mr. Tauzin where he could shove his "deal" and they were more than prepared to duke it out with him. Cheers from everyone for the quick put-down - which should have come from the White House, but didn't. Breathes there a man (or woman) with soul so dead that never to him/herself has said, "the drug industry has had health care financing policy to itself forever?" If a Democratic majority in Congress and the White House can't break PhaRMA's lock on America's health and health care spending, then health policy reform is impossible.

3 Comments

As a former New Orleanian, I was horrified to hear about Tauzin and his White House visit. Billy Tauzin learned his "craft" at the knee of Leander Perez, an infamous politician--infamous in New Orleans and Louisiana!---yeah, that infamous. His machinations over the legislation for Part D Medicare provide all the information any journalist or any political leader should need to avoid this man.

I am very disappointed that the White House failed to denounce any possibility of a deal with PhaRMA and Tauzin. So long as we honor the politics of the past, we have no chance to go forward and change this nation.

Open letter to all members of Congress:

Beware of drug companies bearing 'gifts'!

Have members of Congress learned nothing from the past? If the pharmaceutical industry is now willing to agree to 'improving' drug benefits for seniors on Medicare, legislators should be extremely wary of, and drive a much harder bargain with, the Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturing Association (PhRMA).
For starters, Congress should repeal the provision in the Medicare Modernization & Improvement Act that prohibits Medicare from negotiating Rx drug prices with the pharmaceutical industry. That provision alone gives drug companies carte blanche to name their prices for Medicare Rx Drugs. In other words, 'a license to steal'. The losses to Medicare and profits to drug companies has run in the countless billions of dollars. As you may (or may not) recall, it was the GOP Chairman (Billy Tauzin) of the powerful House Commerce Committee and a Republican-controlled Congress who were the prime movers in getting that legislation passed. After passage of the bill, Tauzin resigned from the House to accept the presidency of PhRMA -- at a salary of $2 million a year (plus perks)! This is an egregious, self-serving conflict of interest that should be addressed by our legislators.
And, how about banning pharmaceutical company prescription drug advertising to the general public. Only the United States and New Zealand permit such Rx advertising. I'm getting weary of seeing TV and print media ads (several times a day) that advise me to see my doctor if I have an erection that lasts for more than four hours. Rx drug advertising properly belongs only in medical and professional journals.
The drug industry spends far more on advertising and promotion than it does on research. As a matter of fact, a good deal of pharmaceutical research is supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the results of which are given to pharmaceutical companies almost gratis. The NIH is supported with about $25 billion of taxpayer dollars each year.
Pharmaceutical companies have consistently made the highest profits of any industry in the United States.
Contrary to what pharmaceutical company ads would have us believe, it's all about excessive profits -- not the welfare of patients!

--Paul G. Jaehnert

What can all of us do to fight this situation? We voted these senators and Congressman into office to work for us and all they can do is collect money for themselves and prevent the American people from getting a fair shake with a decent public healthcare option.Preventing Medicare from negotiating fair pricing on pharmaceutical drugs is a travesty as is an agreement to let big pharma do as they wish with pricing for the rest of us. So if we ever get a government option, the cost of pharmaceutical drugs will kill us. Shame on President Obama for letting this 2 milion dollar Bill Tauzin call the shots for all Americans. I thought Obama was on our side. I am too dissapointed for words. Please someone tell me I have it all wrong.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Gary Schwitzer published on August 12, 2009 6:10 PM.

Bioethicists speak out on health care reform myths, calling the current state of health care unethical was the previous entry in this blog.

Private death panels, universal death panels, or whatever scares the public most is the next entry in this blog.

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