Drug lobby says Medicare drug proposal will cost jobs

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America is not fond of President Obama’s suggestion that federal budget cuts include $135 billion in reduced reimbursements for Medicare drug costs.

The industry trade group asked Archstone Consulting to pull together numbers for key pharma states. New Jersey and Pennsylvania are right behind national leader California in pharma employment and then the jobs that spin out of them.

The research suggested that biopharmaceutical companies supported a total of 189,592 jobs in Pennsylvania in 2008 (the last year numbers were apparently available), which meant 37,518 directly in the sector and 152,074 in other sectors.

Many of those jobs were lost in takeovers and the ensuing layoffs. Nonetheless, PhRMA is also suggesting that many more employees will lose jobs if the industry is hit with a $20 billion “event,” though it doesn’t actually say the event is a cutback.

The Battelle Technology Partnership Practice, working on behalf of PhRMA, estimated that such an event would cost New Jersey 3,702 jobs and Pennsylvania 2,500 jobs in the biopharmaceutical sector, with thousands more disappearing from secondary businesses.

“This is a sector that has had a real challenge over several years with job retention and job growth,” Chip Davis, PhRMA's executive vice president of advocacy, said recently, “and is poised to sustain more significant hits if this becomes law.”