The New Republic's Jonathan Cohn reports that back in March, IMS Health projected slightly negative revenue growth for the pharmaceutical industry but recently changed that projection to 3.5-percent annual growth from 2008 through 2013.
"What changed?" Cohn asks. "A major factor, according to IMS, was the emerging details of health care reform . . . Put it all together, and you have more demand for name-brand drugs . . . enough to boost revenue significantly." And:
"If this bill is implemented," the report concludes on page 138, "an increase in prices on new drugs can be expected."
How could this be happening? Oh yeah:
That brings us back to the deal that the Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America, which represents those companies, made with the White House and Senate Finance Committee . . .
The industry agreed to embrace health care reform and, later on, launched a massive advertising campaign to promote the cause. In exchange, the White House and Senate Finance--which had been asking various industries to pledge concessions that would help pay for the cost of coverage expansions--promised not to seek more than $80 in reduced payments to drug makers.
To an industry as big and profitable as the drug makers, giving up $80 billion over ten years wouldn’t seem like much of a sacrifice--a point critics started making right away. But if IMS is right, the drug industry wouldn't even be giving up $80 billion, in any meaningful sense of the term. If anything, it'd be making more money. Maybe quite a lot of it.
Which is what I predicted, both here and here.
Cohn concludes, "the drug industry has enormous leverage in Congress." But Cohn still supports the president's health care takeover. Or is it PhRMA's health care takeover?