Archive for the ‘Pharma – Drug Companies’ Category

Why are Canada’s drug prices so much lower? Blame NAFTA?

September 6, 2018

Short answer: No … it’s a self-inflicted wound.

Last week,  trade negotiators failed to close a deal with Canada.

During the Canadian press conference, a reporter asked a question about prescription drug prices.

Answering the question with a question: What has that got to do with NAFTA?


Let’s drill down?


When political deals backfire … not the Cornhusker Kickback, the Pfizer Fiasco.

February 5, 2010

Bottom line: Rather than fight on principle, Pfizer decided to cut ObamaCare deals … and is now left holding the bag.  Talk about getting what you deserve !

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Excerpted from WSJ : Pfizer’s Bad Political Bet, Feb 4, 2010

The sight of ObamaCare on life support has many Democrats disappointed. It could be worse. They could be Pfizer CEO Jeffrey Kindler.

The twin events of an Obama presidency and a financial crisis rattled corporate America.

Public anger put companies on the defensive. A liberal president vowing to punish firms that didn’t aid his agenda got companies scared.Fortune 500 execs could stand up for a free market that benefits consumers and shareholders, or hitch their cart to the new Democratic majority.

Pfizer’s Mr. Kindler is a case study in the hitch-and-hope mentality—a CEO who became the motivating force behind Big Pharma’s $80 billion “deal” on reform, and industry support of ObamaCare.

With that health agenda burning, the choice isn’t looking so grand.

Pfizer was long a company that zealously guarded against government interference.The Pfizer board made Mr. Kindler CEO in 2006—picking a … a Democrat and political junkie.  Mr. Kindler was primed for the Obama ascendancy.

Mr. Kindler heeded congressional threats that companies would do well to have more Democrat-heavy lobby shops. Pfizer also aggressively shifted political giving. According to, in the 2006 campaign cycle it gave 33% of its money to Democrats. In the 2008 cycle, 52%. In the 2010 cycle so far, 61%. In 2009 Pfizer became the fourth largest federal lobbyist, spending nearly $25 million. The year before it hadn’t even made the top 20.

With these gestures, Mr. Kindler surely believed Democrats would treat his industry gently.

The strategy: The industry would pledge $80 billion to reform. In return it would get greater volume and a requirement that people buy brand-name drugs. Democrats would also fight against drug reimportation and forgo price controls.

No one pushed harder than Mr. Kindler. The CEO made no fewer than five trips to the White House last year. He pressed the industry’s $150 million ad campaign promoting ObamaCare, rolled out with liberal activist groups.

Critics warned the legislation would lead to a government takeover and price controls. They warned Democrats would take the money and double-cross them.

None of it phased the industry, right up until ObamaCare imploded.

Having got this far (with Big Pharma’s help), Democrats are more desperate than ever to pass “something.” It won’t include any upside for drug companies. There is talk instead of “popular” stand-alone legislation, including reimportation, Medicare price controls, and slashing the industry’s 12-year patent exclusivity on biologics.

Big Pharma can’t count on former conservative protectors. Republicans were sympathetic to its decision to “sit at the table,” but grew furious when it engaged in active advocacy of the Democratic agenda.

One House Republican staffer predicts the next time drug companies “ask us to stand in front of the train,” the answer will be: “Since you were so happy to work with Democrats, call them. Go on, go: Call Rahm [Emanuel]. Call [Henry] Waxman.”

Public anger over ObamaCare doesn’t help the industry’s reputation. Many Americans now view drug companies in the same light as “crony capitalist” banks or energy firms.

Mr. Kindler might take solace that he’s not alone. Insurers, hospitals, utilities — many chose to accommodate a president whose health-care and climate agendas are now teetering.

There’s a lesson here for corporate America. Try standing up for the free markets and limited government that have always been the foundation of U.S. business. It might work out better.