Drug company that supported Obamacare now says rebate plan could be ‘catastrophic’

Patrick Howley Political Reporter
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Eli Lilly CEO John Lechleiter, who previously lobbied on behalf of Obamacare, said that one of President Obama’s costly new health-care reforms would have “catastrophic” consequences for innovation and that he plans to fight against it.

Lechleiter condemned Obama’s “dual eligibles” rebate plan at the annual Eli Lilly shareholder meeting Monday in Indianapolis.

“He said it would have fairly catastrophic consequences to the industry,” Eli Lilly spokesman Greg Kueterman told The Daily Caller.

Eli Lilly is a major drug maker and the world’s largest manufacturer of psychiatric medications.

Obama proposed in his 2013 State of the Union address a plan to require drug makers to offer the same tax rebates provided to Medicaid recipients to low-income Medicare recipients who are considered “dual eligibles” because they are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.

“We’ve always spoken out about the fact that we don’t think these kinds of rebates are the right thing to do,” Eli Lilly spokesman Kueterman said.

“Dr. Lechleiter said this plan would have ‘catastrophic consequences’ for the American pharmaceutical industry, estimating that it would cost the industry somewhere between $100 billion and $135 billion,” National Center for Public Policy Research Free Enterprise Project director Justin Danhof, who was present at the Eli Lilly shareholders meeting, said in a statement. “Enacting Obama’s plan would rip billions from innovation and dearly cost American patients. Using $100 billion in additional costs as a baseline, he said drug companies would spend $15 billion less on drug innovation — an unacceptable cut.”

Eli Lilly was a staunch supporter of Obamacare, even sponsoring an August 2010 National Journal forum on “how Obamacare could create health jobs.”

“When it came to passing Obamacare, the president had an ally in the pharmaceutical industry. However, the president’s political capital appears spent as Eli Lilly — a major player in the PhRMA trade association — appears openly hostile to some of the president’s new health care initiatives,” Danhof said.

Lechleiter also said at the meeting that he continues to work for repeal of the Obamacare-created Independent Payment Advisory Board, the 15-member government panel that works to find savings in Medicare.

“Even though Eli Lilly was a financial backer of the Obamacare legislation, its leadership has recognized that the bill is flawed,” Danhof said.

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Patrick Howley