PHARMA: 60 Minutes on the MMA

60 Minutes on Sunday had an entertaining story about the Medicare drug bill’s passage in late 2003. Not exactly new news, but a fun retelling of how Tom Delay, and PhRMA rammed the bill through literally by holding the vote open for three hours and torturing the crap out of any Republican who was a fiscal conservative and likely to vote no.

What amazes me was that any Republicans at all felt squeamish about that. Hadn’t they seen how Delay operated? Hadn’t they met a PhRMA lobbyist in their time in DC? Hadn’t they noticed the Administration cow-towing to industry in every other sphere of government? Didn’t they know that every possible opposition group was bought off in the bill? Hadn’t they noticed the deficit going through the roof?

And what’s the relevance of telling the story again three and a half years later?

(CODA: Dan Burton, one of the Republicans interviewed, is actually somewhat interesting. For example he’s a long time drug war loon, but in 2002 he actually said some interesting things about the drug war almost hinting at the fact that he realizes what a waste of time and money it is. So maybe there is some hope…)

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Terry NugentThe Group GuyAnonymousPeter Recent comment authors
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Terry Nugent

(input by Matthew at Terry’s request) My comment to CBS regarding the Part D hack job they did Sunday, which as you pointed out is three years old. BTW, no mystery why it ran. It is part of the PR campaign for price controls, the inevitable other shoe about to drop on pharma, once again proving that no good deed goes unpunished. “Your story on Medicare Part D is by far the most biased, partisan piece of garbage I have ever suffered through, and that says a lot considering the source. Taking a program that has give 95% of seniors… Read more »

The Group Guy

The 3.5 year delay stemmed from timing on the following;
1. The presidential election.
2. Release of The Center For Public Integrity report on the Pharmaceutical Industry spend on lobbying.
3. A year of pain for seniors experiencing a doughnut hole in part D that bites back.
4. The spin meister that spoonfed the story to 60 minutes waited to maximize the impact based on the rage that will call for further reforms.


Don’t expect that the Democrats are any better. The Dems want their campaign funds, and big Pharma will pay them off. They will do nothing to negotiate pricing, nor will they allow true competition in the Rx market by allowing the reimportation of medicines from abroad. America is stupid to be the only country in the world that does not negotiate Rx pricing. In addition to the excessive advertisements(every 7 minutes on TV), the lack of reasonable prescription prices is a major cause of the increased cost of health care.


The 60 Minutes show was a good watch, but a depressing one. If anyone didn’t believe this system runs on bribery before the piece would be hard pressed to think the same after seeing the show. I’m don’t know how bad it will have to get before change, but apparently a lot more bad. We’re now into a phase where no one is shamed by their behavior.
Only difference between our political system and the corrupt ones in Africa or South America; ours operates with white men in suits.