According to a recent report in Bussinessweek magazine, “The pharmaceutical industry received reports from Cannes, according to Ken Johnson, senior vice-president of the Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), who says a friend called him from France after seeing the flick.” (see “Michael Moore Wants to Reform Health Care“).
Moore responded with this challenge to Billy Tauzin, CEO of PhRMA. I received this by email from The Weinstein Company, which produced the movie:
BusinessWeek today reported that the drug industry had a “friend” reporting back to them from the screening of ‘SiCKO’ at Cannes. Billy Tauzin, the chief lobbyist for the drug industry, doesn’t need to hide behind a “friend” if he wants to see the movie. I invite Mr. Tauzin to join me in New Hampshire later this month for a screening of ‘SiCKO’ followed by a town hall discussion with a group of undecided New Hampshire voters. Polls have indicated that health care is one of the top issues for voters and as New Hampshire is the nation’s first primary state, the screening and town hall discussion will give everyone the chance to discuss how they feel about our health care system — and specifically the drug industry. I am guessing, given that Mr. Tauzin has launched a glitzy paid advertising campaign featuring children, that he will be more than happy to face the public directly. We can certainly discuss issues like Eli Lilly’s thimerosal and what it did to America’s children or the fact that New Hampshire seniors often have to cross the Canadian border to get affordable drugs.
When Tauzin was still in Congress and carrying the drug industry’s dirty water — before getting his current multi-million dollar a year contract as the nation’s top drug lobbyist — he was the symbol of the death-grip that the health care industry has over health care reform. In fact, Tauzin has a starring role in ‘SiCKO’ and I am sure the spy reported back on the film’s treatment of Mr. Tauzin. The town hall forum will certainly offer the public a chance to explore Tauzin’s record and the drug industry’s role in our health care system.
Nice junket, eh Billy! You could have been more transparent like me and asked for a private screening in New York or Washington, DC and saved a lot of money. But, hey, it’s much more fun to go to Cannes on pharma’s dime.
I wonder who the spy was? I sense a mission for … PhRMA Intern!