Ashes

Kimberly Strassel:

No one pushed harder than Mr. Kindler. The CEO made no fewer than five trips to the White House last year. He was the man prodding Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America head Billy Tauzin every step. He wrote an op-ed with the SEIU’s Mr. Stern demanding reform. 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 fazed the industry, right up until ObamaCare imploded.

Mr. Kindler and Co. are left with the ashes. 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 exclusivity on biologics.

You really, really have to go read the entire piece. It is an object lesson in how to make a bad bet. A lot of the medical industry made a bad bet on this one. The drug companies – led by Pfizer and Kindler – really made a really bad one. He was never the one.

Free market supporters now have a heaven-sent opportunity to make some real changes – if they are smart, fast and willing to push their ideas. Corporations that supported the won stand a real chance of finding out that they backed the loser instead of the one. Or won, as may be.

Limit lawsuits, allow insurance sales across state lines, allow drug reimportation – allow the free market to work. Will this lead to lower profits for companies like Pfizer who backed a losing horse? Probably. No, certainly.

Gosh, I feel bad about that. Don’t you?

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5 Responses to Ashes

  1. Tully says:

    Don’t forget extending tax deductibility to everyone and not just employers.

  2. Sam L. says:

    One of the problems with reimportation is that the drug companies have agreed to bad deals with other gov’t's nationalized health plans wherein they make near-zero profits. A certain result of low profits is less drug research, Which leads to fewer advances in medication.

    Admittedly, drug companies get pretty much only bad publicity (like Republicans) in the media, so they’re not popular, and this was an attempt at either damage limitation or rent-seeking. Which won’t help their public image.

    Beware unintended (but foreseeable) consequences.

  3. twolaneflash says:

    One problem with re-importation is that systems like the Canadian are supplied by government contracts. Canadians and others may get tired of Americans using their healthcare structure to get their meds cheaper. Another problem is that manufacturers are already blocking sales to distributors who sell to known re-importers. It’s not like the foreign countries and drug companies are going to take this lying down. Drug companies are not popular, until you’re sick or have a treatable but deadly condition. The biggest problem is the “something-for-nothing” entitlement class and the politicians who use and abuse them for power and profit. Imagine a world without drug companies.

  4. Gaius says:

    At the moment, I am not feeling at all charitable toward the folks who made a back room sweetheart deal with Obama with Obama gifting them with enormous profits and indentured Americans forced to pay them. These people tried to get the right to force you to pay whatever they wish to charge and have the government enforce those rules for them.

    If Canada and other socialized medicine countries have signed low or no profit deals with the drug companies and the drug companies are still making huge profits – who is paying for all that R&D and profit and dividends on top of it? Still feel like defending them?

    If not reimportation, then come up with some other alternative to drive prices down. But health care “reform” like Obama is pushing isn’t going to do it. And companies that participated in the effort to get that abomination passed deserve no sympathy – or pity.

  5. Peter says:

    Mr. Kinder is simply the corner store paying protection to the mob writ large. Only this time the mob is the Federal Government. Sure he paid. What cops could he call?

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