The Drug Industry Threatens To Oppose The Health Bill

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The Associated Press reports that in the wake of President Obama’s decision to push for a shorter period of exclusivity for biologics, the drug lobby is threatening to walk away from its deal to support the bill:

The drug industry is threatening to end its support for President Barack Obama’s health overhaul effort because of a rift over protecting brand-name biotech drugs from low-cost generic competitors.

The Associated Press has obtained an e-mail to board members of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America from the trade group’s president saying “we could not support the bill” if the industry gets less than 12 years of competitive protection for the expensive products.

The pharmaceutical industry has been a major supporter of Obama’s health effort. It has spent many tens of millions of dollars on advertising and lobbying.

Obama, along with generic producers and consumer groups, want a shorter period of protection.

UPDATE: This is the text of the email that PhRMA head Billy Tauzin sent to his board earlier today:

Mr. Waxman is pushing hard, with the support of the President, to drop our 12-year FOB period down. We are all letting everyone we know hear that we could not support the bill if this happens. Please activate immediately all of your contacts.


UPDATE2: BIO’s Jim Greenwood weighs in.