Group Urges President to Support Landmark Proposal to Address Skyrocketing Drug Prices, A Major Driver of Health Care Costs
WASHINGTON –It appears that Donald Trump is preparing to give a massive gift to the pharmaceutical industry with an executive order that reportedly favors the industry over consumers,
The New York Times reports that the report “is light on specifics but clear on philosophy: Easing regulatory hurdles for the drug industry is the best way to get prices down.”
This is just more “free market” mythology: If you remove regulations, business will thrive. The executives and hedge fund managers that own all the stock in these pharmaceutical companies may thrive, but at what cost? Is it acceptable that a few wealthy executives make even more money or that millions of Americans see relief from the ever climbing cost of prescription drug prices? The worst part is that all of those newly found profits will come from the taxpayers like you and me who pay into the Medicare system will now be forced to pay even higher rates for the same medications.
“The document directs the United States trade representative to conduct a study of price differences between the United States and other countries, and to review trade agreements that may need to be revised “to promote greater intellectual property protection and competition in the global market.”
If you read between the lines, the pharmaceutical industry wants to force other countries, who are already paying drastically lower drug prices, to bring prices more in line with the prices here in the United States.
The order specifically targets low income families in an effort to boost Big Pharma’s exorbitant profits.
“The draft order targets a program, 340B, that requires the drug industry to give discounts to hospitals and clinics that serve large numbers of low-income patients. The industry has complained that the program is being abused, while hospitals say they would have to cut services without it.”
Yes, the proposed order would take away the “requirement” to provide low income families with low cost medications and allow the pharmaceutical industry to jack up the prices on those drugs at the same time.
On Friday, Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined progressive Democrats from the Senate and House in urging President Donald Trump to get behind real solutions to bring down the skyrocketing price of prescription drugs, one of the central reasons why health care costs are rising.
Senator Hassan recently helped introduce the Improving Access to Affordable Prescription Drugs Act, a comprehensive piece of legislation that the group pressed President Trump to support in a letter sent Friday (attached below). This commonsense legislation would help ensure that drug companies put patients before profits and bring much-needed relief to families and seniors, including many who have had to make the impossible choice between paying for a life-saving drug and putting food on the table.
“We hear time and time again from our constituents across the country about how high prices for life-saving and life-sustaining treatments force patients to choose between their health and their economic security,” the lawmakers wrote to President Trump. “Now is the time to address the American people’s concerns in a meaningful way. We urge you to stand up to the pharmaceutical corporations and put the needs of patients first and to support a comprehensive approach that offers real solutions that will make a real difference in peoples’ lives.”
The Improving Access to Affordable Prescription Drugs Act has already gained the support of a broad range of organizations and patient advocacy groups and runs in contrast to the executive order that’s being prepared by the White House.
These legislators are also holding Trump accountable for his campaign promise to reduce prescription drug prices.
On the campaign trail, then candidate Trump said, that the pharmaceutical industry is “getting away with murder.” He implied that the pharmaceutical industry is gouging people and gouging federal programs like Medicare and Medicaid with outrageously high drug prices.
Trump also promised to change the law to allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices as they do in other countries around the world.”We are going to start bidding. We are going to save billions of dollars over time,” he said.
Between the newly proposed cuts to Medicare and Medicaid in the Republican’s new healthcare proposal and President Trump’s proposed Executive Order to reduce regulations on the Pharmaceutical industry, it is abuntantly clear that Trump has no intention of upholding his campaign promise.
The letter to the president was led by Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), was also signed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Tom Udall (D-N. Mex.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.).
It also was signed by Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), Raul Grijalva (D-Ari.), Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), Kathy Castor (D-Fl.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), Judy Chu (D-Calif.), Sanders Levin (D-Mich.), and Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio).
You can also read the open letter of support from groups like Public Citizen, the Alliance for Retired Americans, The National Center for Health Research, and many more, here.