Trump Threatens To ‘Derail The Pharma Gravy Train’
President Donald Trump, a President with a rare history of lashing out at pharmaceutical companies, has went after the billion dollar industry once again. Using inflammatory rhetoric, Trump said that Pfizer and a number of other pharmaceutical companies “should be ashamed” of their recent activities in raising drug prices. The President says that he’s vowing to retaliate.
Trump’s plan to “derail the gravy train,” as he stated, is a response in particular to Pfizer reportedly raising drug prices on 100 different medications. Trump’s 2016 Presidential campaign promises included that of lowering drug prices, a promise that’s walking a tight rope of failure as pharmaceutical companies seem content with acting contrarian to such initiatives. With midterm elections just months away and the 2020 campaign energy heating up, Trump is likely attempting to prevent any Democratic talking points over the matter.
Last year, Trump threatened pharmaceutical companies with government intervention over the matter, however, he never formally implemented any degree of oversight into the matter leading many to speculate that Trump was simply using the rhetoric as a negotiating tactic. Trump said that he felt the industry would “voluntarily regulate” itself.
That never happened.
According to a new Wells Fargo report, Pfizer raised its prices on over 40 drugs in July alone. In June, the report found 63 drugs had raised price points attached to them. Although, the same report shows a lowering of 5 drug price points in July and 64 price points lowered in June.
Trump’s anti-pharma lashings are somewhat new to American politics which has seen pharmaceutical companies prosper as heavy campaign lobbyist on both sides of the aisle. Hillary Clinton, who is potentially gearing up to run for President again in 2020, was once considered a pharmaceutical pawn, but later, in an event to appease her base’s disdain for pharma, tightened up her campaign rhetoric over the billion dollar industry. If Hillary vs. Trump 2.0 were to happen, a failed Trump pharmaceutical agenda item could loosen up the leash on Hillary’s campaign funding acceptance options from such companies.
Pfizer spokesman, Dean Mastrojohn, countered Trump’s claims saying, “price list remains unchanged for the majority of our medicines.”
Trump’s deregulation stances have certainly benefited the economy, however, pharmaceutical giants failing to pass down the tax cut savings could cause Trump to mildly reverse course (maybe just enough to reel in the companies which don’t play ball). Trump’s recent lashing of Harley Davidson is another indication of Trump’s growing disdain for large corporate ventures he once seemingly played nice with.
“Pharma has a lot of lobbies, a lot of lobbyists and a lot of power. And there’s very little bidding on drugs,” Trump while giving a speech in New York City. “We’re the largest buyer of drugs in the world, and yet we don’t bid properly.”
The battle between Trump and Pharma is likely heightened by Trump’s original allocation of resources for a vaccine safety committee, something which never came to be. The question now is, did the vaccine safety commission get swept under the rug as a piece of Trump’s negotiating prowess? That’s a stretch seeing we have few details over the matter, but its worth considering.
Author: Jim Satney
PrepForThat’s Editor and lead writer for political, survival, and weather categories.