Amidst increasing criticism from members of Congress that the White House hasn’t won enough concessions from the pharmaceutical industry on healthcare reform, PhRMA’s Christopher Badgley fired back Wednesday at a healthcare forum hosted by Politics magazine. Badgley, the vice president of state government affairs at PhRMA, says his industry has brought more to the table than it ever wanted to, anchored by the industry’s promise to find $80 billion in savings on prescription drugs over the next decade.

“Our agreement is a good contribution from the industry,” Badgley told Politics. “$80 billion over ten years is the agreement the White House dragged us to. We didn’t go in and say, ‘Oh, by the way, we want to be regulated more and we want to give you $80 billion.’ We certainly didn’t want to go that high.”

The critique from many Congressional Democrats—as well as from a handful of Republicans—stems from the White House’s decision to abandon two provisions that PhRMA steadfastly opposed. The first would allow the importation of drugs from other countries, including Canada. The second would give the government the ability to negotiate prescription drug prices for Medicare recipients.

North Dakota Democrat Byron Dorgan plans to offer an amendment on the Senate floor to allow the importation of cheaper prescription drugs from other nations.

At Wednesday’s healthcare roundtable, which was co-hosted by Pharmacy Times and The American Journal of Managed Care, Badgley said he’s hopeful the provision won’t pass and criticized the proposal for what he called a lack of protections against counterfeiters.

“If you look at a lot of the importation proposals, including the Dorgan one, there’s very little protection, whether it be from counterfeiters in China, Bulgaria, Pakistan. There’s not enough to prevent the types of products that could pose significant risks from getting into our delivery system,” Badgley said.

Sen. Dorgan’s office has yet to respond to a request for comment, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said last week that Dorgan’s amendment would be among the first voted on once the bill gets to the floor.

Shane D’Aprile is senior editor at Politics magazine.
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