Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Big Pharma Prevails

In mid-May, the president unveiled a drug plan that critics immediately denounced as "pharma-friendly." Rather than allowing the government to negotiate lower drug prices—a proposal backed by 92 percent of Americans—Trump's plan vaguely promises to 'encourage innovation' in the private sector while pursuing 'reforms' to Medicare to promote 'greater flexibility.'

As Bloomberg put it, "Five weeks ago, Trump said that drugmakers would announce 'voluntary, massive' cuts in drug prices in two weeks. So far, no such announcement from the industry has happened."

As Politico pointed out last week, "A Wells Fargo report found 104 price increases in June and the first two days of July, with an average jump of 31.5 percent and a median increase of 9.4 percent. That followed 48 increases in May...The across-the-board increases cast doubt on whether Trump and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar can pressure manufacturers to voluntarily drop prices without the threat of specific consequences."

Trump had vowed to take on the pharmaceutical industry during his race to the Oval Office, as Bloomberg noted Monday, "so far his most-noticed efforts have been using Twitter and stump speeches to call out pharmaceutical companies, rather than enacting major new policies."

Trump tweeted, "Pfizer & others should be ashamed that they have raised drug prices for no reason. They are merely taking advantage of the poor & others unable to defend themselves..." (our emphasis)

Isn’t that the capitalist business model?

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