White House Reassures Drug CEOs: Reimportation Could Be 'Unnecessary'

The Wall Street Journal reports: "Industry representatives met at the White House Tuesday with officials to consider specifics of a cost-saving agreement the industry reached last month with health-care negotiators and to discuss other concerns that the pharmaceutical industry has with the larger health-care overhaul being considered by Congress. As a presidential candidate, President Barack Obama endorsed re-importation, an idea the industry opposes. White House officials have told the industry if the larger health care bill passes, the cost savings will be so great that reimportation will be unnecessary, according to Billy Tauzin, president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America." Some of the pharmaceutical companies represented at the Tuesday meeting included Merck & Co., Pfizer Inc., Amgen Inc., Abbott Laboratories and AstraZeneca.

The Wall Street Journal notes: "Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, said he disagrees with any move to drop the reimportation idea. He has pushed to import drugs from Canada, where they are cheaper because of price controls" (Mundy, 7/7). 

Roll Call: "With the White House and the Senate Finance Committee still trying to figure out how to pay for health care reform, the drug industry is trying to solidify its contributions to the effort. Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America CEO Billy Tauzin and five member- company CEOs went to the White House on Tuesday afternoon to solidify the $80 billion deal they recently struck with the White House and Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) ... The meeting follows reports that the Congressional Budget Office is expected to score the drug companies' deal as less than the advertised $80 billion in savings, according to several health care lobbyists" (Palmer, 7/8).

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