Drug Industry Mourns Santorum's Pending Departure
"We're going to have tough days ahead of us," Ken Johnson, spokesman for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, told the Washington Post.
A post-election e-mail to executives at the drug company GlaxoSmithKline details just how tough. "We now have fewer allies in the Senate," says the internal memo, obtained by the Post. The company's primary concerns are bills that would allow more imported drugs and would force price competition for drugs bought under Medicare.
The defeat of Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) "creates a big hole we will need to fill," the e-mail says. Sen.-elect Jon Tester (D-MT) "is expected to be a problem," it says, and the elevation to the Senate of Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) "will strengthen his ability to challenge us."
The Post reports that drug companies are hiring Democratic lobbyists, but they're holding on to their Republican lobbyists.
Their gameplan is clear: fight legislation as necessary, knowing that the Democrats don't have veto-proof (or even filibuster-proof) majorities. The underlying reason? If the Democratic-controlled Congress struggles, Republicans could regain control in 2008.
And by that point, the drug industry can find another Republican to carry its water, much like their buddy, "Gunga Din" Santorum.