If you care about and follow the issue of drug prices, then this week was bizarre on the political scene. In a press conference with Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) at her side, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was imploring the media not to focus only on impeachment but on drug prices, noting that she believes Congress and President Trump can continue to work together despite the friction.
Yesterday, Trump was courting seniors in Florida, extolling drug price reductions under his watch that kind of, you know, never really happened and promising to save Medicare from “socialism” (go figure, Medicare is already a huge government program). Bizarrely, he implied that Big Pharma might have something to do with the impeachment inquiry against him. Maybe his Secretary of Health and Human Services, former Eli Lilly Pres. Alex Azar, is in on the “coup”… just joking.
In the haze of the political circus, something fundamental keeps getting lost. During Trump’s 2016 campaign, the only policy he put forward on his website to bring down drug prices was drug importation. See below screenshot:
Democrats – and the media – like to focus on the fact that Trump supported Medicare drug price negotiations during his campaign but reneged on the policy. Perhaps. But Trump was vague on what he said, and it was never on his list of healthcare reform priorities on his website. He liked to talk about “bidding.” In fact, the first month of his presidency he was railing against Big Pharma, saying they were “getting away with murder,” and seemingly on the Medicare drug price negotiation train. In January of 2017, he stated:
“Pharma has a lot of lobbies, a lot of lobbyists and a lot of power. And there’s very little bidding on drugs…We’re the largest buyer of drugs in the world, and yet we don’t bid properly.”
That was then. Yesterday, while Trump noted his support for Florida’s drug importation plan several times, taunting Azar to make it happen, his big spiel was an “executive order” on Medicare that seemed to promote Medicare Advantage Plans – also known as Part C of Medicare. Look, our readers include Trump supporters and Trump haters, and in between (where that exists), but let me tell you straight up: nothing of what the president said seemed to indicate real action on drug prices. The truth is what it is.
Prescription Justice published a paper recommending that Trump use executive authority on drug importation, promoting safe personal importation to help Americans access lower prices in Canada and other countries. Trump doesn’t have to wait on Florida or any other state. For the record, I’m highly opposed to this administration’s policies, but if Trump wants a win, an executive order on importation would provide that. Real humans, people who already import meds, ones who want to see Trump re-elected and impeached, would resoundingly applaud.
As for the Dem’s drug price bill, H.R. 3, – Lower Drug Costs Now Act – I like it. It’s a great start to reeling in drug prices on the most expensive products and capping Medicare drug out-of-pocket costs to $2,000. Can you imagine? Look, Big Pharma doesn’t want Americans buying cheaper meds in Canada. Passing H.R. 3 would really reduce the need for older Americans to buy meds internationally! Unfortunately, the Senate – think Kentucky (Right) or Moscow (Left) Mitch – won’t touch it, so we continue with paralysis on drug prices…and the need for safe international online pharmacies continues.Tagged with: Adam Schiff, Lower Drug Costs Now Act, Nancy Pelosi