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Pharma Stays Inside the Tent

Both wings of the pharameceutical industry–brand name producers and generic manufacturers–are praising the White House choice of Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and Tennesee health policy expert Nancy-Anne DeParle to lead the administration’s health care reform effort, according to Pharma Times.

The generic industry and the big name drug companies have opposing interests on some key issues but until Obama-Care take shapes–and Congress decides whether to shave patent protections and Medicare subsidies that favor Big Pharma–all the industry factions want to stay in the administration’s good graces.

From the PT:

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of American (PhRMA) says Gov. Sebelius is a “wise choice” for HHS Secretary. She combines the vital combination of skills – toughness and an intimate understanding of the challenges – that it will take to accomplish the job of shaping healthcare reform, said PhRMA chief executive Billy Tauzin.

Key words: “toughness” and “intimate understanding.” Tauzin, former Louisiana congressman who opposed the Clinton health care reform 15 years ago, is hoping Sebelius is tough enough to deflect liberal demands for cost cutting and intimate enough with the drug production process to believe the big companies’ position that innovation requires patent protection for more than a decade.

And Kathleen Jaeger, chief executive of the Generic Pharmaceutical Association (GPhA) said she [Sibelius] is “a proven leader…who can work in a bipartisan manner to get things done.”

Keyword: “bipartisan.” The generic industry hopes Sebelius can bring Republicans, traditionally beholden to the Big Pharma, to support Obama’s desire for health care system that devotes more spending to the lower-cost generic drugs.

That two rivals in one key health care sector are staying in the reform tent confirms the wisdom of Obama’s decision to go light on details of their health care plan and see what consensus develops first.

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