May 14, 2018
Like all the other politicians in Washington, whether Republican or Democrat, Trump knows people worry about paying high drug costs. In 2016, U.S. consumers and health institutions spent more than 300 billion dollars on drugs.
President Trump just announced a “plan,” of which no details were given, this past week that he says will bring down drug prices.
But neither he, nor his head of Health and Human Services, nor the long line of those preceding him in office, have ever proposed measures that actually bring down drug prices. In fact, administration after administration, going back to when Medicare began in 1965, have refused to play by their own beloved capitalist playbook: they don’t allow real competition. Congress has passed rule after rule to allow pharmaceutical manufacturers to extend the life of their drugs with fake “tweaks” and tiny “changes,” like different dosages or packaging. These maneuvers prevent generic competitors from offering cheaper alternatives.
The largest buyer of all drugs in the U.S. is Medicare, yet Medicare is FORBIDDEN by Congress from negotiating with drug makers for better prices. Last year, the 10 largest drug makers had 84 billion dollars in profits, and that is after all the fake expenses they are allowed to claim.
No wonder drug stock prices went up as soon as Trump made his announcement.