Hillary Clinton has created two health care punching bags thatshe hopes will rally popular support behind her quest for the WhiteHouse.

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Clinton chose this week to launch into a formal offensiveagainst Republicans who have opposed health care reform, andbig pharma, which she blames forrunning up the cost of prescription drugs just as the nationwas beginning to better control runaway health insuranceprice increases.

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The first bag to hit back was big pharma. In a statementfollowing a preview of Clinton’s plan to rein in prescription drug costs, an industrygroup lashed out at Clinton, accusing her of threatening patienthealth for political purposes.

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“"Researchers and scientists across the biopharmaceuticalindustry have dedicated their lives to the search for newtreatments and cures for patients. … This persistence anddedication to patients has resulted in tremendous advances againstsome of life's biggest enemies, including cancer, hepatitis c,heart disease and other terrible diseases. Secretary Clinton’sproposal would turn back the clock on medical innovation and haltprogress against the diseases that patients fear most,” JohnCastellani, CEO of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers ofAmerica, said in a statement.

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Clinton told audiences in Louisiana and Arkansas on Monday thather plan to force manufacturers to reveal their internal costscould save $100 billion over a decade. Castellani said her planfocused on a few breakthrough drugs instead of the overallindustry, where competition has made most drugs easilyaffordable.

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"These proposals are driven by the false notion that spending onmedicines is fueling overall health care cost growth and ignoreshow the current marketplace for medicines helps keep spending incheck. In reality, the share of health care spending attributableto medicines is projected to continue to grow in line with overallhealth care cost growth for at least the next decade. This isbecause competition and negotiation by payers result in steepdiscounts in medicine prices, and as a result of the current patentsystem 90 percent of medicines used are low-cost generic copies,”he said.

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Her solution would “erode the U.S. leadership in biomedicalinnovation, spur loss of high-tech STEM jobs and undermine U.S.competitiveness” and would actually lead to higher drug costs forseniors. The chilling effect on R&D would be substantial overtime, he added.

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"It may not be known for decades the full consequences ofpolicies that shift time, resources and energy away from searchingfor cures for the most challenging and complex diseases, such asAlzheimer's, Parkinson's and the mostdifficult forms of cancer. And yet the stakes could not be higherfor the patients who are waiting for new medicines that can improvetheir lives and offer them more time with loved ones” he said.

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