Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Obama Hearts Drug Marketers

In Obama gives powerful drug lobby a seat at healthcare table, the L. A. Times reports that:

The pharmaceutical industry, once condemned by the president as a source of healthcare problems, has become a White House partner.

By Tom Hamburger August 4, 2009

Reporting from Washington -- As a candidate for president, Barack Obama lambasted drug companies and the influence they wield in Washington. He even ran a television ad targeting the industry's chief lobbyist, former Louisiana congressman Billy Tauzin, and the role Tauzin played in preventing Medicare from negotiating for lower drug prices.

Since the election, Tauzin has morphed into the president's partner. He has been invited to the White House a half-dozen times in recent months. There, he says, he eventually secured an agreement that the administration wouldn't try to overturn the very Medicare drug policy Obama criticized on the campaign trail. . .

Please read it all. It's a shocker. Big Pharma is the most sanctimonious of all the greedy industries out there. Meanwhile they enjoy about 98% gross margins. (That's not a typo.)

From a political standpoint, I'm beginning to wonder just who Barack Obama thinks is his base. Bill Clinton tacked to the center only after his party was thrashed in his first midterm election. Why is this President, with a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, so cozy with Big Pharma?

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