Health Inc.

Drugmakers To Put Advertising Oomph Behind Overhaul

Coming soon to a TV near you: a wave of ads bankrolled by drug companies in support of health overhaul.

Don't adjust your set--those ads are from the drug industry.

Don't adjust your set--those ads are from the drug industry. iStockphoto.com hide caption

itoggle caption iStockphoto.com

The drug industry, already a big spender on commercials for its medicines, is a seemingly unlikely patron for the planned ad blitz, which could cost $150 million or more, the Associated Press reported over the weekend.

The ads would bolster the administration's plans to remake health care and expand insurance coverage to nearly 50 million people.

To put the size of the ad campaign in perspective, the New York Times points out that Sen. John McCain spent $126 million on ads in his bid for the presidency. In the end, the drug industry ad spending could wind up within spitting distance of the $236 million shelled out for campaign ads by Team Obama.

The drug industry's support for President Obama's plan may seem a "somewhat surprising political alliance," as the AP put it, until you stop to think about all the new customers an expansion of coverage might bring to pharmacies.

Some of the TV ads expected this fall will carry the name of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the main trade group for brand-name drugmakers, which has pushed hard for an $80 billion limit on price concessions under an overhaul.

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