Across the political spectrum, Americans support reining in prescription drug prices—Democrats, Independents and Republicans alike. But, despite claims to the contrary, President Donald Trump has no intention of reining in drug prices. A draft Trump Executive Order on drug prices obtained by the New York Times has Pharma’s fingerprints all over it and is designed to drive up drug prices further. It’s all about strengthening the power of drug companies to set prices around the world.
Pharma wants greater power to charge people outside the U.S. more, as reflected in the draft Executive Order. But, higher prices outside the U.S. likely means higher prices around the world. Pharma is making no promises to reduce drug prices in the U.S.
Pharma also wants to loosen U.S. regulations so that drugs get to market faster at less cost to the drug industry. But, that policy–also in the draft Executive Order–would jeopardize patient safety further, not promote lower drug prices.
Pharma’s support of value-based pricing, another piece of Trump’s draft Executive Order, sounds good in theory. But, it is another way for Pharma to try to justify high drug prices. Only if somehow it can be proved that the particular drug didn’t work would the price come down. And, Pharma is not proposing a full refund for drugs that don’t work, as tends to be the case with other products that do not deliver value. Moreover, how much time and money would it take to prove lack of efficacy or patient safety?
Pharma also wants to be able to charge more for drugs to hospitals treating low-income patients under the 340B program.
The draft Executive Order does not suggest discounting drugs for people with Medicare, nor does it recommend reducing brand-name drug prices.
And, a proposal in the draft Executive Order to give more tax breaks to companies manufacturing generic drugs would mean more money to Pharma with no guarantees of lower generic drug prices. Yet, another proposal to permit dissemination of off-label information to insurers and PBMs pre-FDA approval also would undermine patient safety.
Not surprisingly, the New York Times reports that many of the people involved in drafting the Executive Order have longstanding ties to the drug industry.
Senator Franken along with several other Senate Democrats have a bill in Congress to rein in drug prices–the Improving Access to Affordable Prescription Drugs Act. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky has introduced a complementary bill in the House.
If you believe that we need policies to rein in drug prices not give Pharma more power to drive prices up, please sign this petition.
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