PhRMA paid for part of Medicare ad campaign: AP

PhRMA quietly paid for parts of a recent multimillion-dollar ad campaign that praises lawmakers supporting the new Medicare prescription drug benefit, the Associated Press (AP) reported. The ads are credited to the US Chamber of Commerce, which has repeatedly refused to comment on whether it has received funding from PhRMA, AP said. The commercials, airing in 10 states, generally say the local congressman or senator supports the drug program and explains hundreds or thousands of Medicare beneficiaries have saved money since the program began earlier this year. Ken Johnson, SVP of PhRMA told MM&M in an e-mailed statement that “PhRMA works with a variety of groups, including patient advocacy groups and business organizations like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and others, to support policies that improve patient access to life-saving medicines." The episode is reminiscent of anther PhRMA-financed ad campaign, the AP article said. In May 2002, a little known conservative group, United Seniors Association (USA), announced plans for a multimillion-dollar advertising effort supporting prescription drug legislation that Republicans were drafting. A spokesman for USA denied that PhRMA picked up the cost but several political officials said it had and PhRMA confirmed it had made an “unrestricted educational grant,” to the seniors group.