MONTPELIER, VT: Jim Jeffords isn't the only Vermonter to have
stepped into the spotlight lately. On June 13 a visibly upset Gov.
Howard Dean (D-VT) raged against the pharmaceutical industry after his
Pharmacy Discount Plan (PDP) was rejected by a federal court. PDP aimed
to help reduce the costs of prescription drugs for older and
The case was brought against Vermont by the Pharmaceutical Research and
Manufacturers of America. Dean, however, turned this public defeat into
a major news event and public cause, and thus wins PR Play of the
Instead of letting the court decision be the final call, Dean, a former
physician, quickly called a press conference and declared, "The
pharmaceutical industry may have won this court case, but we are not
going to roll over. I will do everything in my power to bring relief to
During the conference, Dean took the unorthodox measure of urging his
constituents to have their doctors order prescriptions through the
United Health Alliance (UHA), a Vermont group which provides a form that
doctors can fax to a Canadian pharmacy. Prescriptions in Canada can cost
as much as 90% less than the US.
Wanting his message to reach as many Vermonters as possible, Dean went
on a media blitz. He did talk radio shows, newspaper interviews and
appeared on all the major networks in his home state. He kept urging
fellow Vermonters to have doctors order prescriptions from the UHA.
The story was picked up by the national press, appearing in The New York
Times, the LA Times and the San Francisco Chronicle, as well as
garnering airtime on national TV in the US and Canada.
Despite the questionable legitimacy of his advice, coverage was
All of which allowed Dean to bring his vision of healthcare reform to