From “getting away with murder” to a more pharma-friendly White House.
One year into Donald Trump’s presidency, on the eve of his first State of the Union address, he has more or less abandoned his outspoken pledges to bring down the cost of America’s medicines, the highest in the world.
“Despite continuing rhetoric that the pharmaceutical companies are getting away with murder,” said Rachel Sachs, a Washington University in St. Louis professor who follows drug pricing, “he has done absolutely nothing on this issue, and that has actually surprised me.”
Trump was unorthodox about drug prices during the 2016 campaign. He swore to stand up to the pharmaceutical companies, long revered as among Washington’s powerful interests. He told Time, in his Person of the Year interview in December 2016: “I’m going to bring down drug prices. I don’t like what has happened with drug prices.”
Under Trump, drug companies have undertaken a concerted campaign to shift the discussion about drug prices to a conversation about out-of-pocket costs, in which health insurers and pharmacy benefits managers are under the microscope.
The companies’ campaign appears to have borne fruit, judging by regulatory changes being pursued by the Trump administration on Medicare. Trump has also filled the executive branch with officials closely tied to the drug industry; his new pick to lead Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, was most recently a top executive at Eli Lilly.
As Azar was sworn into office Monday, Trump promised again that he would bring prescription drug prices “way down.” But experts say that in first year of Trump’s presidency the drug industry has gained the upper hand in the lobbying campaign against its foes in the health care industry.
“I think they think they had a good year. They dodged a bullet,” Len Nichols, a health policy professor Read More Here