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Monday, March 24, 2008

McCain's Drug Plan a "Jihad" on Industry?

GOP presidential contender John McCain acts like a Democrat on certain healthcare issues, such as controlling drug prices, compensating doctors for disease management and advocating stem cell research.

His proposal to permit imports of cheaper drugs from Canada--a principle he shares with all Democratic candidates' healthcare platforms--is drawing fire from the drug industry.
If you take his platform en masse, and began with his premise that it's about cost and not access, then you can pretty much declare a jihad against all the stakeholders in the system,'' Paul Keckley, director of the Deloitte Center of Health Solutions in Washington, D.C., told Bloomberg news.
By one estimate, Pfizer alone could lose $40 billion over ten years if such a policy were enacted.

But "jihad?" That's tough language.

Of course, payers and employers care far more about the cost of drugs than the bottom line of insurers. With all three candidates now supporting drug importation and development of generic drugs, it will be interesting to see if those changes come about with a new administration. Companies, and employees, can certainly use the relief.

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