Big Pharma “Hearts” Harry Reid

Posted on July 7, 2010

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As the saying goes, “Politics make strange bedfellows.”  And personally, this is one couple I didn’t see hooking up, but I guess no one’s perfect. 

From the San Francisco Examiner:

No scalp would be as treasured by Republicans this fall as that of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. And no incumbent is receiving as much air support from the drug industry as is Reid, who championed a health care bill that pads drug company profits.

The drug lobby has begun a pro-Reid TV blitz in his home state of Nevada. One ad praises Reid for saving jobs and for understanding that “good jobs with good benefits [mean] a better future.” The narrator then instructs viewers to “call Harry Reid today; tell him to keep fighting for Nevada families.”

But “Nevada families” didn’t pay for the ad. The drug lobby did. And while the TV spot makes only passing reference to the health care bill passed in March, there’s no doubt this ad buy — and the rest of the drug industry’s generosity toward Harry Reid — is a big thank you for the corporate-welfare “reform” bill that Reid shepherded through the Senate.

Flash back one year to last July, when Democratic congressmen going home for the Independence Day recess began to hear from their constituents about Obamacare, with the result that “reform” was threatened. That’s when top drug lobbyist Billy Tauzin came to the rescue.

Tauzin was president of the Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the largest single-industry lobbying organization in the country. He was also formerly public enemy No. 1 for the Obama campaign, which had held him up as the poster boy for Washington’s revolving door and “game playing.”

Last July, Tauzin visited the White House twice (and who knows how many meetings he had at nearby coffee shops?) and hashed out a deal on health care. As the Los Angeles Times first reported, Tauzin pledged to support Obamacare if the White House would keep its hands off the government favors the drug industry was already receiving. In addition, Democrats loaded up the bill with plenty more drug company goodies including subsidies, mandates and unprecedented 12-year, government-enforced monopolies on complex drugs.

In the end, PhRMA shaped “reform” as it wanted, and the group ran millions of dollars of ads supporting the bill. Reid passed it. Now PhRMA is doing heavy lifting for Reid, whose approval ratings are in the 30s.

The article goes on to cite other signs of Big Pharma’s love for Harry.   Read it for yourself and remember it the next time you hear Senator Reid tout  just how great health care reform is.  Were Democrats really looking out for you?  Not so much.  They were looking out for Big Pharma, and by extension, their own campaign coffers,  instead.  Who would have guessed?

Posted in: Congress, Senate