The art of the drug deal by Helen Redmond

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Helen Redmond explains how the drug industry got a seat at the head of the health care reform table.
August 13, 2009

BILLY TAUZIN, a former Republican member of Congress from Louisiana and the current president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America PhRMA, is all about the art of the deal. He’s the Donald Trump of brand-name prescription drugs, but unlike “The Donald,” “The Billy” goes to the White House and closes deals in private with the president of the United States.

In a secret, behind-the-scenes mother of all deals, the Obama administration agreed to two central PhRMA demands: no government negotiation of drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries and no re-importation of cheaper drugs from Canada or other countries. In exchange, the industry “pledged” $80 billion in cost savings over 10 years. The details of how the cost savings will be achieved and accounted for haven’t been disclosed.

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