Pharmaceutical group leader says Democrats who vote for reconciliation bill ‘won’t get a free pass’

“Regardless of the outcome in the coming weeks, this fight is not over,” Ubl said in an interview. “Few associations have all the tools of modern political advocacy at their disposal, as PhRMA does.”

The letter, released Thursday, largely reiterates arguments put forward by the industry throughout the process, with executives from companies including Pfizer and Merck saying the passage of the law will result in fewer treatments and cures, especially for severe illnesses such as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, which can be difficult and costly. develop.

Ubl said one PhRMA member company has 15 drugs in development that will be scrapped if the bill becomes law.

“This is a very consistent vote. Those participants who vote for this bill will not receive a free pass. We will do our best to hold them accountable,” he said.

It’s not yet clear when Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will table a $740 billion reconciliation package, and senators expect they will have to stay over the weekend as they move to resolve any issues and pass it on as quickly as possible.

The stakes for the pharmaceutical industry are high: Allowing Medicare to negotiate the cost of high-priced drugs is expected to save the federal government more than $100 billion. The move “will set the US system on a course towards broad state control, creating the conditions for our country to fall behind,” the letter sent to Congress on Thursday said.

Over the past two years, PhRMA has spent millions of dollars lobbying Democrats for drug pricing reform, and millions more on television and digital advertising in an attempt to sway public opinion. More than $14.4 million was spent on the group’s lobbying activities in the first six months of 2022, according to disclosure documents.

Uble declined to say more about what legal arguments would be on the table — “for fear that revealing our hand would make it impossible to choose in the future” — or what changes might come from future rules or legislation.

“In my experience, when a bill like this is passed on a hyper-partisan basis, with little margin and flaws in due process, it rarely sticks,” he said, pointing to all the changes that have been made to the Affordable Care Act since the moment of its adoption. pass. “I expect there will be room in the future to further mitigate the harm of this legislation.”