PHARMACY AND DRUG INDUSTRY LOBBYIST MEETINGS ARE BEING RENEWED
PHARMACY AND DRUG INDUSTRY LOBBYIST MEETINGS ARE BEING RENEWED in Washington via informal dinner meetings being co-sponsored by trade organizations and individual drug companies. The first two meetings -- held in January and March -- were sponsored by NARD and Merck, and APhA and Lilly. A third session is planned for May to be sponsored by the National Wholesale Druggists' Association and Sterling Winthrop. The meetings include Washington representatives from a number of pharmaceutical firms, pharmacy associations and other health-related organizations. The meetings are apparently intended to provide a forum for discussion of legislative and policy issues among company reps and lobbyists for other segments of the health care industry. The meetings may fill a void left by the disbanding of the Pharmaceutical Industry Washington Advisory Committee (PIWAC). That group was viewed as unnecessary after the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association established its Washington Representatives Section in the late 1980s. PIWAC attempted to establish areas of agreement between the diverse groups represented by its members and even recommended policy positions. In forming its Washington Reps Section, PMA apparently decided that a body making recommendations to its board about legislative and regulatory strategy should comprise drug company lobbyists exclusively. The divergence of positions between the industry and pharmacy on policy issues has had a notable effect on the development on many legislative proposals in recent years, such as the outpatient drug benefit in the Medicare Catastrophic Care Act and the Medicaid rebate proposal. Pharmacy support for Sen. Pryor's (D- Ark.) S 2000 drug price legislation was particularly irksome to some representatives of the brandname drug business in Washington.
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