Drugmakers’ victories in Washington could keep health costs high, trade office warns
The pharmaceutical industry spent $110 million in just the first half of 2009 in its efforts to influence health care reform, part of a booming lobbying effort that now has 2.3 drug lobbyists on Capitol Hill for every member of Congress, a new investigative report reveals.
Writing in Time magazine, Karen Tumulty and Michael Scherer report that Big Pharma’s efforts to protect their interests in health care reform amounts to an expenditure of $609,000 per day, and “they’re getting a pretty good return on their investment,” Tumulty told CNN’s John King on Thursday.
“It’s not just the lobbyists,” Tumulty said. “The money goes into a lot of other things. It finances a lot of so-called research, expert reports, consultant reports. A lot of do-good organizations are springing up with names that sound like quite beneficial organizations, but you look at them and it turns out the whole thing is being run by drug companies.”
As evidence of drugmakers’ clout on the Hill, Tumulty pointed to a major victory for the group earlier this summer, when the House and Senate voted to extend patent protection of biotechnology drugs — biologics, as they are known — by an additional 12 years.
The move to grant them extra protection from generic drug makers was opposed by the Federal Trade Commission, which argued that extending patent protection could stifle innovation and keep drug costs high.
“These bio-tech drugs — they’re miracle drugs — are probably going to be something like half of all new drugs being approved,” Tumulty said. “And the big fight right now is whether there will ever be a generic equivalent for these drugs that cost $20,000, $40,000 or even $200,000 per year to administer.”
Tumulty noted that it’s practically impossible to trace all the money being spent in Washington to influence health care reform, because “it’s going not only into the campaign coffers of elected officials and salaries of lobbyists, but also into organizations that are essentially front groups for these interests, and into scientific-sounding consultant reports.”
Tumulty warned that the American public could be the “losers” in all of this.
“On some of these key questions you’ve got to say the lobbyists are getting pretty much everything they’re asking for,” she told CNN’s John Roberts. “And considering how important it is to bring down health care costs in the long run, I think the rest of us are the losers.”
This video is from CNN’s American Morning, broadcast Oct. 22, 2009.
WATCH: John Oliver exposes Trump’s lies about vote-by-mail — and the Fox News ‘cult’ claiming the election is already ‘rigged’
"Last Week Tonight" host John Oliver's main story Sunday refuted President Donald Trump's latest crusade against vote-by-mail. Trump announced on Twitter that the more people who vote in an election, the more Republicans tend to lose. So, he wants fewer people to have access to the ballot in November, even if people are too scared to go out during the coronavirus crisis.
Oliver called out Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R-MO), who outright told people not to vote if they were too afraid to vote in the local elections next week.
"Well, hold on there," Oliver interjected. "Voting is a right. It has to be easy to understand and accessible to anyone."
John Oliver rips Fox News’ Tucker Carlson for urging ‘order’ from people of color — but never demanding it of police
John Oliver opened his Sunday show, shredding Fox News host Tucker Carlson for uring "order" among protesters, but refusing to urge "order" to police and "wannabe police" who can't stop killing people.
It's a lot, Oliver explained. "How these protests are a response to a legacy of police misconduct, both in Minneapolis and the nation at large and how that misconduct is, itself, built on a legacy of white supremacy that prioritizes the comfort of white Americans over the safety of people of color."
While some of it is complicated, Oliver conceded, most of it is "all too clear."
Cars set on fire blocks from White House as DC protests turn violent
The Washington, D.C. protests turned violent as the city approached the 11 p.m. curfew the mayor instituted Sunday afternoon.
The policy of D.C. police is that when they are attacked, they advance forward. So, when fireworks were fired, the line of officers began pushing the protesters back further from the White House. Behind the line of police officers also stand a line of National Guard troops that President Donald Trump has demanded stand watch in the city.
Lights that normally shine on the White House have also been turned off, reporters revealed.