A memo reveals that the White House and the pharmaceutical lobby secretly agreed to precisely the sort of wide-ranging deal that both parties have been denying. The memo lists precisely what the White House gave up, and what it got in return.
The White House agreed to oppose any congressional efforts to use the government's leverage to bargain for lower drug prices or import drugs from Canada. In exchange, the Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers Association (PhRMA) agreed to cut $80 billion in projected costs to taxpayers and senior citizens over ten years.
President Obama wants to keep PhRMA from opposing the bill, and benefits by having its support, which now includes a $150-million advertising campaign. That's a fortune in politics, but it's loose change in the pharmaceutical business.