Friday, February 8, 2008

Healthcare: Is Clinton or Obama Better for Big Pharma?

Super Tuesday is over for another four years. All we have to do now is to live with its results during that time. Unfortunately, unlike in prior years, we don’t have clear frontrunners in either party right now, especially with the Democrats. And, this has gotten me thinking. Is Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama better for Big Pharma? (Please don’t fret that I’m favoring one party over the other, I intend on reviewing the Republicans later.)
Senator Clinton has been known to the American public since the early Nineties when as part of her husband’s administration, she attempted to overhaul the U.S. healthcare system. I’d call her a child of the big spending, liberal governments of the Sixties that thought the government could fix anything. I remember her work from that time and being very confused by and skeptical of her proposal. I will also admit freely that I firmly believe that our country does need major healthcare changes and I give Senator Clinton much credit for getting out in front of this issue long before it became public awareness became white hot.
So, I went to the Clinton campaign’s website and found the page for her healthcare policy ( ). The site mentions drug company pricing and product information as elements of her program. One of her fact sheets talks about “excessive insurance, drug, and malpractice costs.” Doesn’t look like there are going to be too many Big Pharma friends there. What I see if Senator Clinton is elected and succeeds in implementing her healthcare policy is more pricing pressure on the industry. I’ve been blogging for a while about the next decade being a tough one for Big Pharma. Eight years of a President Hillary Clinton could just make that happen.
Then I went over to Senator Obama’s website and its healthcare policy page ( ) to check his program. There is a lot more detail on what he intends to do. For instance, allowing Americans to import lower cost drugs from overseas. Or, permitting the U.S. government to negotiate with drug companies to lower prices, currently prohibited. The Obama site estimates savings of about $30 billion from this measure alone. He would also advocate the use of generic drugs. I have to admit that before I read the website I thought that Obama was moderate than Clinton. I learned otherwise on that webpage.
Looking ahead to November, whichever Democratic contender wins the election Big Pharma is going to be in trouble. I don’t believe that it will really matter which of them wins. And, if the Democrats pick up more seats in both Houses of Congress then these webpages could become this country’s new healthcare policy.
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Contributed by Guy de Lastin

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