Big Pharma Film Tour Supports Campaign to Control Drug Prices
-- Lee Mercer, HCAO Mobilization Committee Chair
When Richard Master, CEO of MCS Industries and producer of Big Pharma: Market Failure (click here for trailer) flew out with his wife Susan to do a whirlwind film tour in Oregon this month, he helped boost the campaign to cap outrageous pharmaceutical costs in Oregon. He also continued with his work building a nationwide organization engaging business owners in the campaign for universal publicly funded health care.
In a series of film screenings in Salem, Portland and Corvallis, Master joined spokespersons for HCAO and Oregonians for Affordable Drug Prices Now in exploring the dynamics behind out-of-control drug prices in America and the role the pharmaceutical industry and their lobbying dollars and lobbyists play in maintaining a terribly dysfunctional system.
In Salem over 100 attended a screening at the Loucks Auditorium and heard from Master, Rep. Rob Nosse, lead sponsor of HB 2387, the current bill to cap drug costs and generate more transparency in pharmaceutical pricing, Andrea Salinas from the OADPN coalition and Lee Mercer from HCAO. Audience members included Marion County Clerk Bill Burgess and his wife Cindy, chair of League of Women Voters of Marion and Polk Counties and representatives of Physicians for a National Health Program-Oregon. Salem City Club also helped get the word out about the event.
The focus of the Big Pharma national screening tour is to encourage business owners to get involved with the campaign for universal publicly funded health care. At all the Oregon screenings business owners were given the opportunity to join Business Leaders Transforming Healthcare, a project of American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC). They were also given the opportunity to join over 160 Oregon business owners who support single payer, through a sign-on with Health Care for All Oregon and Main Street Alliance of Oregon.
About 50 friends of HCAO, PNHP doctors, business owners and others attended an invitational screening at Holladay Park Plaza in Portland with wine and refreshments hosted by Ken and Linda Myer and Bill Dickey of Morel Ink. Mitch Rofsky, board member of ASBC and CEO of Better World Club and Dr. Thuy Tran, Portland optometrist and Executive Committee member of Main Street Alliance of Oregon were among attendees. Joe and Fran Mazzara also brought members of a new Metro area advisory group doing fundraising for HCAO.
Screenings at the Unitarian Church in Portland and the Dark Side Cinema in Corvallis drew audiences of 85 each and lively discussions of business owners, physicians, nurses and the public. Lunch and dinner meetings with Richard and Susan Master in Corvallis and Salem also engaged mid-Willamette valley physicians and business owners.
A special screening featuring a pizza lunch for legislators and staffers in Hearing Room 50 in the state capitol gave folks “inside the building” the chance to see why it is so important that we pass legislation helping control the cost of pharmaceuticals. Rep. Nosse, among the legislators attending, pointed out that seeing this film as he was fighting for HB 2387 had raised his spirits and reminded him why it is so important for us to get a handle on this problem.
Richard Master and Representative Rob Nosse also spoke at the Saturday June 10 HCAO Membership Meeting at the Unitarian church in Salem to 140 health reform activists gathered from throughout Oregon.
To arrange a screening of either of these films in your area with speakers from HCAO and PNHP, contact Lee Mercer, Mobilization Chair, HCAO, 831-818-5247.