Pharma may have just given health reform a much-needed boost. The details are vague at this point, but the headline isn't: Drugmakers have agreed to foot the bill for $80 billion in Medicare drugs over the next decade
Lots of dough. The AARP will endorse the deal.
This is a quick reaction to President Obama's speech at the AMA (transcript: http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2009-06-15-obama-speech-text_N.htm).
And it's a quantitatively strategic one...Obama pegged pharma reforms to contribute + 30B to the "Health Reserve Fund" that will be used to pay for 'other (insert air quotes here)' health reforms.
By offering to contribute 80B, they're seeing Obama's 30B and raising it by 50B. Smart move? Probably. Here's exactly what the President said about pharma at the AMA meeting:
"Third, we need to introduce generic biologic drugs into the marketplace. These are drugs used to treat illnesses like anemia. But right now, there is no pathway at the FDA for approving generic versions of these drugs. Creating such a pathway will save us billions of dollars. And we can save another roughly $30 billion by getting a better deal for our poorer seniors while asking our well-off seniors to pay a little more for their drugs.
So, that's the bulk of what's in the Health Reserve Fund."
If this 80B plan isn't a checkmate for pharma, it's pretty damn close...