The pharmaceutical industry is beginning to wade into the 2010 midterm elections in support of those that helped to preserve a deal crafted by the White House to secure the industry’s support for the health care reform bill that President Barack Obama signed into law in March.
The first advertisements are appearing in support of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, according to The Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney.
Here’s the ad:
In 2009, the White House met with leaders from the pharmaceutical industry and their lobbyist in Washington to determine what could be done to get the industry to support the administration’s health care reform efforts. Ultimately, a deal was reached whereby the drug companies would support the bill through advertising and lobbying and the White House and Congress would ensure that cost-savings extracted from the industry would not top $80 billion or include certain provisions including the re-importation of drugs and providing Medicare with negotiating authority over prescription drug plans. (For the full story on the deal click here.)
Reid successfully shepherded the health care reform bill, with the pharmaceutical industry deal intact, through the Senate despite criticism coming from different wings of the Democratic Party.
Throughout the process Reid mobilized Democrats to block efforts to alter the terms of the deal between the White House and the pharmaceutical industry.
In the Senate Finance Committee, three Democrats sided with Republicans to block an amendment that would have fully closed the donut-hole in Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage.
When the bill came to the floor for a vote Reid successfully whipped Democrats to vote against an amendment that would have provided for the re-importation of drugs from first-world countries, a provision that Democrats had long supported and campaigned on. The amendment failed with many Democrats voting against it.
Reid has received more than just television advertising support from the pharmaceutical industry. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Reid has received $361,850 in campaign contributions from the pharmaceutical industry over the course of his career.
Fifty-four percent of that total–$198,450–came from contributions made in 2009 and 2010.
As the Examiner’s Carney points out, Reid is the second leading recipient of pharmaceutical campaign contributions for 2009-2010. A large number of the contributions were made around the time of key events in the crafting of the deal between the White House and the drug companies.