Take a Shill Pill

Andrew Sullivan Sings for His Drugs

As for Sullivan, Findlay says, "It troubles me that such a careful thinker and analyst of issues wouldn't have wanted to examine this industry more closely. I think if he looked below the surface, he'd still have his viewpoint that they develop some terrific medicines, but he'd find that some of these drugs are priced quite high, and that they are perhaps being sold somewhat more aggressively than they should be, and that there's a danger that some of them are being used inappropriately."

The voice of the drug industry is the trade association Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA, pronounced "pharma"). Their defense of high drug prices can be found at www.phrma.org, in a section called "Why Do Prescription Drugs Cost So Much?" Sample argument: Price controls would "only hurt innovation and result in fewer breakthrough medicines in the future."

Indeed, you can find just about every statistic and argument from Sullivan's essay at that link on the PhRMA Web site. Given the synergy between his viewpoint and the industry's, could it have been a coincidence that Sullivan's essay appeared in the same issue of the Times Magazine as a 17-page ad supplement from PhRMA?

Times Magazine editor Adam Moss called "Pro Pharma" and the PhRMA ad "totally unrelated." Sullivan did not respond to repeated requests for comment.


ccotts@villagevoice.com

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