Trump to break lower-drug-price promise

The man who never met a promise he wasn’t willing to break is about to do it again. Donald Trump, who campaigned on a promise to lower drug prices by allowing cheaper foreign drugs to be re-imported into the United States, and just as importantly, to permit Medicare to negotiate for better drug prices, has — surprise! — changed his mind.

Add your name: Tell Donald Trump to keep his promise!

For those unaware of just how big a racket prescription drug prices in America are, let me explain.

1. Americans pay higher prices than Europeans for the same prescription drugs made by the same big pharmaceutical companies in order to subsidize cheap prices in Europe.

The drugs you buy are 5 to 20 times more expensive in America than in Europe, and not because the Europeans subsidize the prices. Simply because European countries negotiate better prices with the drug companies, and America doesn’t. So the drug companies take a hit in Europe and then simply charge Americans more.

So every time you buy a prescription drug, you are quite literally subsidizing cheaper drugs in Europe.

And it’s illegal for you to go to Europe (or Canada) and buy those cheap drugs, then bring back more than a few month’s worth to the US. Why? Because the FDA falsely claims it is afraid you might buy bad drugs abroad. Except those drugs are made by the same companies that make them in America, so how exactly would they be bad in Europe but okay in the good ole US of A?

2. Did you know that Medicare is forbidden by law from negotiating a better drug price on behalf of its 44 million members?

Yep. US law bans Medicare from using its market leverage to negotiate a better price from Big Pharma. Why? Because Big Pharma bought off enough members of Congress to do it. And now, Big Pharma apparently owns Donald Trump too. Trump promised to do this, but now he won’t.

This one is particularly insane. What possible reason is there to restrict the free market and force Medicare to buy drugs at higher prices, when it could simply negotiate a lower price? There’s no earthly reason why that’s good policy. It’s simply a tax on seniors that goes straight into the pocket of Big Pharma.

One of the big reasons that Trump is breaking his word on drug prices is because, big surprise, a Big Pharma guy, Joe Grogan, was hired to be OMB’s director of health programs.

“Our industry sources indicate that pharma expects it has successfully shifted the dialogue from the high price of innovation to transparency and other parts of the supply chain,” Wells Fargo analyst David Maris wrote in a note to investors Thursday evening. “As such, several drug company executives have expressed the belief that Trump’s drug price approach will not include drug re-importation and Medicare negotiation of drug prices.”

The industry’s growing confidence comes in part from the presence of key allies in the White House: Joe Grogan, OMB’s director of health programs, is working on the executive order, according to multiple sources inside and outside of the government. Grogan spent the last five years as the head of federal affairs for Gilead Sciences — the drug company that helped ignite the drug pricing debate in 2013, when it set the price of a new hepatitis C treatment at more than $80,000.

Please add your name to those demanding that Donald Trump keep his promise and help lower American drug prices:

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CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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