(11 am. – promoted by DDadmin)
There are over 15,000 clinics and hospitals in this country, which get their drugs for poorer patients from a government discount – drug act which was created in 1992. They spend over $6 billion, and they are supposed to get a discount of 30% to 50% off.
During the past 8 years, (that’s mostly during the Bush administration 2002 – , with some overlap into the 3rd Term of Bipartisanbamaship ) the inspector general for HHS noticed drug manufacturers were overcharging their customers, but not getting dinged for it and being motivated to be good contractors.
Ted Slafsky, executive director of Safety Net Hospitals for Pharmaceutical Access — which represents 600 hospitals in the program — said that “manufacturers have been able to overcharge covered entities with impunity.”
Santa Clara County and Santa Cruz County in California sued Astra Zeneca USA. This upset Big Pharma.
In Dec 2009, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals of San Francisco ruled that clinics and hospitals could sue.
The Supreme Court is asked to rule next.
The U.S. Department of Justice, Eric Holder, Attorney General, under the Presidency of Barack Obama, is now siding with the Pharmaceutical companies to overturn that decision, and telling the Supreme Court they don’t want counties and clinics suing over drug price rip offs. Per the DOJ, only the Federal Government (not meaning Congress, I guess, but the secret deal maker- in – chief) had the authority to enforce the law.
Eric Holder. Drugs. When had I written about that before… oh yeah, if CA had legalized marijuana last November by passing Prop 19, that was going to get the Dept of Justice and the DEA after them. We saw who the donors were on that issue, (surprise ! pharma again, with oil, tobacco, beer, and casinos) and the “NO” forces wanting their Homeland Security money to keep coming. Senators do like running their own mini state fiefdoms. The Feds and the CIA like running their Border Wars.
Asked to explain the administration’s stance, a White House spokesman said, “We will let the brief speak for itself.”
A federal health official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was recounting lawyer-client discussions inside the government, said: “We really wanted to stand on the sidelines of this case. The Justice Department took the lead in solidifying the government’s position because of a broader concern about the possible impact of the case beyond this one little program.”
One “little” program ?
Hey, if a medical facility is preventing the spread of contagious diseases or helping in family planning (thanks a lot, Stupak Blue Dogs and House, for gutting younger women’s basic care needs by pandering to the right wing again ), isn’t that actually saving money, besides lives ?
Scarecrow at FDL points out that:
The Inspector Generals’ reports already demonstrate the DHHS hasn’t done an effective enforcement job. And there’s no reason to believe DHHS will significantly improve things, especially when Congress is looking to make dramatic budget cuts in every corner. DHHS should thus welcome the help of private enforcement efforts by the very people the Act was intended to help and who have the greatest stake in effective enforcement.
Meanwhile, it’s a New Year and New Opportunities for one of the “architects” of the present mess.
PhRMA chief lobbyist Bryant Hall has left the pharmaceutical industry trade group to head Rubicon Strategies, a new health care lobbying shop owned by the Tiber Creek Group.
As PhRMA’s top lobbyist, Hall, was deeply involved in the health care reform debate and was one of the chief architects of the deal that the industry cut with the White House and Senate Democrats to pay at least $90 billion in drug discounts and other givebacks in exchange for avoiding unwanted policies like drug re-importation. Hall also oversaw PhRMA’s political program, which spent $25 million last year to protect its friends in Congress.
“We didn’t want him to set up his own shop and compete with us,” said PMJ (Peck Madigan Jones & Stewart, also owned by Tiber Creek) partner Peter Madigan. “What Rubicon does is it gives us another brand, it allows us to penetrate one of the most important and growing businesses here in Washington, D.C., which is health care.”
PMJ recently hired Andrew McKechnie, a former health policy adviser to Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee.