Perspectives: Trump Drops The Ball On Through-The-Roof Drug Prices; Did Novartis Pay Up To Cohen For Protection?
Editorial writers focus on President Donald Trump's speech on lowering drug prices and Michael Cohen's payment from Novartis.
Trump Surrenders In The War On Drug Prices
U.S. prescription-drug prices are outrageous. This is so obvious it offers rare common ground for people on both sides of the political divide. One of President Donald Trump’s most effective 2016 pitches was his pledge to do something about it. But the plan Trump announced today avoided big moves and tough decisions, Max Nisen writes. For example, he could have fulfilled a campaign pledge to have the government negotiate prices on behalf of patients. Instead, his plan proposes modest tweaks to Medicare Part D. That’s better than nothing, but a missed opportunity for bigger savings. (Mark Gongloff, 5/11)
The Washington Post:
Trump Is Telling The Truth About American Pharmaceuticals
Americans spend approximately 90 percent more for the medicines they use, as a percentage of income, than do citizens of the five largest European markets, according to a recent study by University of Southern California (USC) experts. This contributes to the high cost of health care in the United States and to chronic disparities in health outcomes. President Trump on Friday unveiled a plan to tackle these high prescription-drug prices. (5/12)
The New York Times:
What’s Good For Pharma Isn’t Good For America
So Donald Trump broke another promise: he did not, after all, empower Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices. Instead he (and Michael Cohen, who definitely isn’t his bagman) took money from drug lobbyists, appointed them to key positions, and announced a plan that sent drug stocks soaring. I’m sure you’re shocked.But promise-breaking aside, would introducing a policy of bargaining drug prices down have been good for America? Actually, yes. (Paul Krugman, 5/12)
The Best Fix For Drug Prices Is Already On The Books
The Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act — better known as Hatch-Waxman — was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan 34 years ago. Sponsored by Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, a devout conservative, and Representative Henry Waxman of California, a flaming liberal, its primary purpose was to make drugs more affordable by kick-starting the relatively new generic drug industry. This law made it much easier to bring generic drugs to the market — for instance, the kind of clinical testing required to get a new drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration was largely eliminated for generics. To supply an extra incentive, the first manufacturer to have a particular drug ready would get the market to itself for 180 days before all the other companies came out with their generic version.(Joe Nocera, 5/11)
A Mother's Day Message To Pharma: Lower Your Insulin Prices
Today in the United States there are about 3 million people with Type 1 diabetes and about 4 million with Type 2 diabetes who depend on insulin to stay healthy. The cost to patients for their insulin and supplies can be as high as $1,400 a month. (Vikas Saini, 5/11)
Novartis' Tone-Deaf Response To Michael Cohen: Troubling But Not Surprising
When Donald Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, approached Novartis early last year to provide access to the new Trump administration, the company’s response was tone-deaf. But it was hardly a surprise. The personal lawyer and “fixer” for the president came knocking as big drug makers were anxious about the future, since candidate Trump had lambasted them for through-the-roof prices. So former Novartis chief executive Joe Jimenez quickly authorized a one-year, $1.2 million deal. This was considerably more than Novartis typically paid Washington lobbyists. And it wasn’t for Cohen’s policy expertise — he knew nothing about health care. (Ed Silverman, 5/14)
The Washington Post:
Why Would A Swiss Health-Care Company Pay Michael Cohen $1.2 Million? Look At Drug Prices.
You know how a person with a leg cramp needs to walk it off? News of Michael Cohen’s attempted transformation last year from New York taxi medallion merchant to Washington wise man has given me a brain cramp, and I need to think it through. Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis hired President Trump’s designated porn-star silencer to “advise the company as to how the Trump administration might approach certain US healthcare policy matters,” as the company explained in a very embarrassed statement this week. Based on little more than the man’s boasts about his influence, Novartis agreed to pay Cohen, Trump’s conduit to alleged lover Stormy Daniels, $1.2 million per year, in 12 monthly installments. (David Von Drehle, 5/11)