Pharmaceutical industry welcomes reform

    Drug companies came away from President Obama’s speech to Congress last night relatively unscathed.

    The President’s proposals on health care reform mentioned little about an industry that stands to gain millions of new customers: Pharmaceuticals. But that absence could signal victory.

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    In his address to Congress the President mentioned that the drug industry will pitch in to help support reform. Previously the industry has promised $80 billion in cost savings. But Wednesday, the industry escaped much attention, unlike other groups, says George Sillup. He’s a professor at St. Joseph’s University.

    Sillup: So much vilifying big insurance as opposed to virtually no mention of big pharma. And sometimes no mention is a good thing.

    Obama didn’t advocate price controls, which Sillup says signaled a win for the pharmaceutical industry, and a defeat for those who say more savings should come from drug companies. Michael Capella is a professor at Villanova.

    Capella:
    I think the fact that the industry has been at the negotiating table from the beginning and they’ve been seen as more of a partner in getting this done…is one of the reasons that the adminstration has seen fit to not try to paint them in a negative light.

    One source of funds to pay for the President’s proposals will be to siphon pharmaceutical company profits, an approach drug companies actually support. Analysts say that’s because, overall, companies will have a net benefit from potentially millions of new customers with health insurance.

    David Nicoli is a spokesman for AstraZeneca in Wilmington, Delaware. He says pharmaceutical firms support health care reform and they say it will strengthen an industry vital to region.

    Nicoli: What’s going to be good for patient health which is expanded health insurance and prescription drug coverage will also help different sectors of the healthcare industry including the pharmaceutical industry.

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