President-elect Donald Trump, whose victory last month was greeted with a surge in pharmaceutical stocks, declared himself an opponent of high drug prices in an interview with Time magazine.
“I’m going to bring down drug prices. I don’t like what’s happened with drug prices,” Trump said, according to a transcript of the interview posted on Time’s website.
AP Photo/Carolyn KasterPresident Trump on Wednesday met with Reps. Elijah Cummings and Peter Welch, along with Johns Hopkins president Dr. Redonda Miller, to talk about drug pricing.
Coming out of the meeting, Cummings said Trump was "enthusiastic" about targeting drug prices.
AP Photo/Evan Vucci
If Donald Trump is serious about cracking down on drug prices, as he told Time Magazine, then he could start by beefing up Medicare’s bargaining clout in negotiating their bulk purchases of prescription drugs.
Whenever there is a report of a drug company jacking up the price of a prescription medication, the pharma industry is often quick to point out that there are non-profit charities ready and willing to help patients get these drugs at a more affordable rate. However, those charities may have very close ties to the drug maker that could not only help the company turn a profit, but avoid some tax obligations. In recent months, several large pharmaceutical companies have been subpoenaed as part of an ongoing federal investigation into these connections.
On Monday, the soaring cost of prescription drugs was thrust back into the limelight when hedge fund manager turned-serial pharma startup mogul Martin Shkreli made the rounds to explain why his company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, decided to raise the cost of a 62-year-old treatment for life-threatening parasitic infections from $13.50 to $750 a pill virtually overnight. Shkreli’s answer: “This is still one of the smallest pharmaceutical products in the world. It really doesn’t make sense to get any criticism for this.”