Pharmas not ‘Sicko’ with worry over Moore movie

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On the eve of the June 29 debut of Sicko, Michael Moore’s broadside against American healthcare, pharma communicators were wary but optimistic that his latest work would prove more bark than bite.

The would-be populist, who vowed in early production to take on Big Pharma and sought doctors and drug reps to interview, pivoted away from the drug industry, instead taking aim mainly at insurance companies and calling for government-run healthcare. Nonetheless, he opined that pharmas “should be highly regulated, like ConEd. A lot of people need medicine to survive, but to allow pharmaceutical companies to jack up prices and make it impossible for some people to get the drugs they need to live is criminal.”

“Michael Moore is a talented filmmaker and a masterful self-promoter, but I think most Americans recognize he’s a political activist with an agenda promoting a government-run single-payer healthcare system that they have rejected time and time again,” said PhRMA SVP, communications and public affairs Ken Johnson.

PhRMA took no chances, firing off a pre-emptive rebuttal to the film’s Cannes premiere touting the Partnership for Prescription Assistance and adding that Moore “has no intention of being fair and balanced.”

The Weinstein Company, which produced the film, hired former Clinton/Gore PR man Chris Lehane to work the press and held advance screenings for political press, bloggers and analysts.
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