The PhRMA-Obama Connection

Fresh Air's Terry Gross featured a fantastic piece of investigative reporting on her show yesterday, about secret meetings held between pharmaceutical industry executives and members of the Obama administration to negotiate elements of a health care reform bill that would be acceptable to the drug companies.

The reporting, by Paul Blumenthal, a senior writer at the Sunlight Foundation, revealed that by hammering out a "secret" deal, "the Obama administration got the biggest lobby in Washington and put them on the side of health care reform." At the same time, the drug industry was guaranteed that "Congress would not legislate any cost-cutting measures that would make a dent in industry profits."

Blumenthal said that the CEOs of pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and AstraZeneca attended a series of meetings at the White House throughout the spring and summer, and agreed to spend more than $150 million on ads touting a health care overhaul.

The piece also tracks the controversial rise and fall of Billy Tauzin, the former Congressman turned drug industry lobbyist who recently left his $2 million a year post as president of PhRMA.

This program aired on February 23, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.


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