MEDICARE Rx: Citizens for Better Medicare Roll Out New Ad
Months after introducing "Flo" as a tactic against President Clinton's proposed Medicare prescription drug benefit, Citizens for Better Medicare -- formed and financed by the pharmaceutical industry -- is back, this time discouraging seniors from supporting drug controls similar to those in Canada, USA Today reports. The TV, radio and print ad campaign, expected to cost more than $1 million, aims to "counter news stories about Americans buying prescription drugs in Canada because prices are lower there."
Don't Look North!
According to the ad, which will launch today and is set to run through mid-April in states bordering Canada and in Washington, D.C., Canadians are coming to the United States for drugs because they say "their government-controlled health system is in crisis," they "wait longer for new cures" and too often are "switched to cheaper, less effective medicines." The ad concludes, "Yet, some politicians want to import Canada's government controls to America. Help Congress. Say 'no thanks.'" While the ad "does not dispute that many best-selling prescription drugs cost a third less on average in Canada," the pharmaceutical industry argues that "Canadians are paying for those lower prices in the form of an inferior government health care system." Timothy Ryan of Citizens for Better Medicare said, "We want to tell the other side of the story: The same government controls that lower drug prices also ration care." But industry critics assert that the campaign "is proof that drug companies are worried about their public image, growing support for covering drug costs under Medicare and a move by some states to negotiate discount drug purchases from Canada" (Ullmann, 3/29).