New drug war

Expect in the coming weeks and months to see lots of TV commercials from US drug makers and their trade organization PhRMA about the benefits...

Expect in the coming weeks and months to see lots of TV commercials from US drug makers and their trade organization PhRMA about the benefits of drug company research to Americans. If you watch broadcast or cable news, that is. As discussed in a recent PRWeek article, the trade group PhRMA is being very aggressive in promoting all the “good” things about the drug industry. Lots of research lies behind what some people might think are high drug prices, drug manufacturers say. And drug companies give some $5 billion away in free medicine every year, PhRMA notes.

But as big and powerful as the drug lobby is, PhRMA has got another major lobbying group standing in its way, the AARP, which is pushing for Congress to permit the import of drug from Canada, and so far is doing a good job at it.

Do US drug manufacturers charge too much? They offer plenty of reason why they do not. But as any good US politician knows, senior citizens often live on fixed incomes and are fiercely concerned about health care.

Sure, the new Medicare program offers breaks on drugs, but there are some “gaps” in coverage for hundreds of thousands of people. It’s hard to imagine that a flashy ad campaign or dire warnings about the dangers of counterfeit drugs from Canada will dissuade many people from looking for the best deal they can get.

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