Perspectives: Time To Cut Costs; Trump’s Drug-Pricing Orders
Read recent commentaries about prescription drug issues.
Los Angeles Times:
Trump's Disturbing Rationale For His Drug Price Reform
If the Trump administration succeeds in lowering the prices of some popular prescription drugs this year, you can apparently thank the Supreme Court and its decision to restore the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. This was the bizarre and disturbing position that President Trump advanced Monday when chatting briefly with reporters on the White House lawn. The president signed four executive orders last week that aim to slash the premium prices that Americans pay for insulin and other medications, a laudable goal that has met with stiff resistance from elements of the pharmaceutical industry. Although all of these proposals have been in the works for years, they have foundered in the face of industry objections and, more notably, serious implementation challenges. (Jon Healey, 7/27)
The Wall Street Journal:
Trump’s Drug Price Panic
President Trump’s decline in the polls is getting more expensive by the day. The next virus spending bill will cost trillions, and late Friday the President made a pitch for seniors with haphazard executive orders to lower drug prices. His prescription is akin to what Democrats are offering: more government control. “I’m unrigging the system that is many decades old. We’re doing something that should have been done a long time ago,” the President said at a press conference. “Previous administrations did nothing—absolutely nothing—as drug lobbyists, special interests, and foreign countries freely ripped off our citizens.” Did Bernie Sanders ghost write his remarks? (7/26)
How Big Is Trump’s Big Prescription Drug Plan?
I have not been able to find a rigorous analysis of how much these proposals are likely to affect the overall cost of prescription drugs. At a guess, though, the first two are minuscule and cancel each other out. The Canadian reimportation rule will save consumers some money, but not much overall. So that leaves the “favored nation” rule, which at least has the potential to drive down the cost of certain expensive drugs. Unfortunately, there’s no way of knowing what impact it will have until Trump issues an actual order instead of simply using it as a threat to hold over the heads of the pharma industry—which he’s been doing for the past couple of years with no results. Given the opposition of both pharma and most of the Republican Party, this is a pig in a poke until we see a final order. (Kevin Drum, 7/27)
Los Angeles Times:
Here's How Trump Should Lower Prescription Drug Prices
More than a third of Americans say healthcare is the single most important issue going into November’s election. According to Gallup, 35% of U.S. adults say healthcare is extremely important to winning their vote — and that’s based on a survey taken prior to the COVID-19 pandemic causing about 150,000 deaths and turning everyone’s life upside-down. Yet Democrats and Republicans continue to struggle, as has been the case for decades, for solutions to this country’s shamefully, pathetically, inexcusably dysfunctional healthcare system, which prioritizes corporate profits ahead of patients’ well-being. (David Lazarus, 7/28)
Four Ways Drug Companies Can Ease Racial Disparities
To protect all of us from Covid-19, we need new medicines—but especially new medicines that work for the people suffering most from this disease. By now we know the harsh truth, that minorities around the U.S. are three times more likely than non-Hispanic whites to become infected with the novel coronavirus—and twice as likely to die from it, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When adjusted for age differences, Hispanics and African Americans have been hospitalized due to Covid at rates four to five times higher than whites. (Tim Garnett and Joy Fitzgerald, 7/20)