On June 19, the board of PhRMA approved the $80 billion worth of drug discounts in the deal that former Blue Dog Billly Tauzin negotiated with the White House.

On Tuesday June 30, the Hill reported that PhRMA began running ads in the districts of six "vulnerable Democrats," worth about $2.5 million:

The combined cost of the ads and mailers for the six candidates – Reps. Jim Himes (R-Conn.), Alan Grayson (Fla.), Suzanne Kosmas (Fla.), Mike Ross (Ark.), Baron Hill (Ind.) and Steve Driehaus (Ohio) – is about $2.5 million, according to a source familiar with the buys.

Each candidate, with the exception of Himes, will receive about 1,000-1,400 points on TV, which represents a significant amount. Himes’s district is on the New York City media market, and he is receiving a large cable buy.

An astro-turfy YouTube channel put up the videos that PhRma ran for Himes and Kosmos on July 1, in time for the Hill article. The Stamford Advocate reports that "PhRMA’s missives about Himes’ are among about 100 or so such efforts PhRMA is orchestrating around the country."

PhRMA scored a big victory on the Education & Commerce Committee with the passage of the Eshoo/Barton amendment, supported by PhRMA, which extended the period of monopolies for generic biologic medicines:

In the period leading up to this moment, the biotech and pharma industry has spent millions, much of it hiring well known Democrats, such as Howard Dean, to push the anti-consumer amendment.

It was a big boon to PhRMA, and a serious blow to cost control efforts for phramaceutical drugs. Both Mike Ross and Baron Hill voted for the amendment, which passed (PDF).

The details of the deal between the White House and PhRMA have have not been released. As Robert Reich says, those responsible for the deal — including Max Baucus and the White House — need to be forthcoming about what it entails.

Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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