Olive branch . . . or red flag

WASHINGTON - The drug industry held out an olive branch to the Clinton administration on a Medicare drug benefit, but it probably won't be clear until the State of the Union address on Jan. 27 whether the White House will respond with a dove or a howitzer. Comments from the administration late last week hint that the Democrats can now sniff victory on the issue in an election year, making it more politically expedient for them to continue to bash the industry than to compromise with it.

Representatives of major pharmaceutical companies last week announced that they would drop opposition to a

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