Obama? Big Pharma. Here's an $80B Drug Discount

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 20, 2009 4:41 PM CDT
The health care reform bill.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Big Pharma has offered the feds a discount of up to $80 billion on drugs for programs like Medicare, the Washington Post reports. The pledge, which comes at a crucial moment in the health-reform debate, may be a pre-emptive strike before President Obama pushes for a proposed $100 billion price cut. “There was a great deal of sticker shock" when the White House floated that number, a drug company exec said.

US lawmakers are suffering from sticker shock of their own. After the price tag for health care overhaul came in at $1 trillion this week, the House unveiled a bill yesterday mandating changes that Big Pharma hopes to make independently. Rep. Henry Waxman called the bill an attempt to recover the "windfall" that drug companies made when the Medicare prescription drug benefit kicked in 3 years ago.