The Right Prescription in the Journal

The Wall Street Journal gives Big Pharma's state house lobbying an MRI

Kudos and a smart salute to Sarah Rubenstein and the WSJ for a tough and intelligent story on Big Pharma quietly backing a nonprofit group in its efforts to get state legislators to tie the hands of pharmacists who want to switch epilepsy patients to cheaper generic drugs.

The story is good for three reasons at a minimum:

First, it reveals the behind-the-scenes collaboration in the first place and notes that the stakes include as much as $5 billion in sales of four brand-name drugs with patents set to expire between next year and 2010.

Second, it gives the nonprofit group and sponsoring lawmakers a fair—I’d say more-than-fair—hearing on why they think generic drugs aren’t as safe as the expensive kind, despite the Food and Drug Administration’s okay.

Third, it is so smart to check into these statehouse battles, where much of the interaction between business and government takes place. And I’m not even talking about insurance, where almost all the business is done in state capitols.

Thanks for making The Audit’s Friday.

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Dean Starkman Dean Starkman runs The Audit, CJR's business section, and is the author of The Watchdog That Didn't Bark: The Financial Crisis and the Disappearance of Investigative Journalism (Columbia University Press, January 2014). Follow Dean on Twitter: @deanstarkman.