IT'S BACK TO FUN IN THE sun for drugmakers. Last year, with the Clinton White House talking about cracking down on drug price hikes, the Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America (PHRMA) abandoned such tony resorts as Boca Raton, Fla., and Scottsdale, Ariz., to hold its annual meeting in Washington. They wanted to project a more business-like image while in the thick of the health-care-reform debate.
Well, friendly Republicans rule Congress now, and health-care reform is dead. So PHRMA has New York's Plaza Hotel slated for '96 and a return to Boca in '97. Washington didn't save the group money. And this year's capital confab drew only 175 paying people, where some 300 might come to Florida. "Much as I love D.C.," says PHRMA President Gerald Mossinghoff, "it's not Boca in the early spring."
A sign of the new mood: At the recent meeting, a SmithKline Beecham executive got big laughs during his slide presentation by showing a shredded picture of Hillary Rodham Clinton.