Both the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times have written on the partnership between Billy Tauzin, the drug industry’s chief lobbyist, and President Obama.  The result of this unlikely partnership?  The industry has pledged $80 billion in cost savings over the next ten years, and in return, the White House will protect them from any savings beyond that pledged $80 billion.  For Tauzin, that means a pledge from the White House to forswear Medicare drug price bargaining and a promise that importing cheaper drugs from Canada or Europe will not be pursued.  And for the White House, this deal means $150 million of advertising, paid for by PhRMA (Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America), voicing support of the President’s plan.

Former labor secretary Robert Reich has responded to this agreement with a column titled “How the White House’s Deal With Big Pharma Undermines Democracy.”

The Huffington Post has put together “Healthcare Flashbacks,” which shows how Obama repeatedly decried the drug industry and promised to hold them accountable when he was a candidate, including releasing a campaign ad in which Billy Tauzin is depicted as  a prime example of the corrupt game-playing in Washington.  The game-playing that Obama pledged to put an end to but is now fully engaged in.

UPDATE: The White House is pushing back against the reports of their agreement with Big Pharma, insisting that no explicit pledges with the drug industry were made in exchange for the industry’s promise of $80 billion in cost savings.  Read the full story here.