Tomorrow, of course, is election day here in the USA and it seems that the pharmaceutical industry is, for the most part, shrugging it off as of very little consequence one way or the other. There is, however, some anxiety.
Dan Jaffe, Executive VP of Governmental Relations at the Association of National Advertisers, said at last week’s DTC Perspectives’ DTC in the Era of Consumer Choice Conference, that the drug industry and its advertising partners are facing a new disease: EAD or Election Anxiety Disorder.
But Jaffe reminded the audience that there is anti-business rhetoric from both sides of the aisle and he summarized who in Congress is against the industry and who is for it in his presentation at the DTC conference.
Mark Senak, Eye on FDA blogger, said in his presentation that “what happens on Tuesday is of very little consequence to the drug industry.” Yet he also said that pharmaceutical marketing will not be recognizable three years from now because of the new regulatory environment likely to be ushered in by this election.
Senak made this argument: due to the leadership void and low employee morale at the overwhelmed FDA, Congress feels the need to step in and “micromanage” the agency (eg, see “FDA Paralyzed: Who Will Protect Us?“).
The FDA void, according to Senak, is part of the “virtual shutdown of the domestic government” wrought by the Bush administration. Members of Congress, contends Senak, are “extremely anxious” about the “dramatic drop off of enforcement of domestic laws.” Senak cited the dearth of warning letters from the FDA to prove his point.
Senak, like Jaffe, reminded the audience that much of this legislative push to micromanage the FDA is bipartisan — coming from both sides of the aisle (eg, Grassley-R and Stupak-D in the Senate).
So why is tomorrow’s election of little consequence for the pharma industry, yet there remains anxiety? On the little consequence side is the fact that none of the powerful “anti-pharma” senators is up for re-election tomorrow. On the “anxiety” side is the fact that all 435 seats in the House of Representatives are up for re-election. Democrats — who favor more regulation and reforms to Medicare Part D — are expected to gain many seats in both houses of Congress.
Meanwhile, the majority of US pharmaceutical company employee respondents to my “McCain vs. Obama: Who’s Better for Pharma?” Survey favors Obama over McCain 54% to 31%. You can still take that survey and let me know how you will vote tomorrow.
P.S. If you suffer from EAD, you can find some Rx remedies here.