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Saturday, February 09, 2019

Trump cut drug prices

One passage little noted in President Donald John Trump's magnificent State of the Union speech on Tuesday was this: "Already, as a result of my Administration's efforts, in 2018 drug prices experienced their single largest decline in 46 years."

The Associated Press dismissed this, writing, "While President Trump is correct that drug prices dropped in the last year -- and that hasn't happened since 1972 -- the drop was less than 1 percent."

Jeepers. That was better than anyone since Nixon. Drug companies own Washington.

Under Obama, drug prices rose nearly 10% annually.

NPR reported last month, "The skyrocketing cost of many prescription drugs in the U.S. can be blamed primarily on price increases, not expensive new therapies or improvements in existing medications as drug companies frequently claim, a new study shows.

"The report, published Monday in the journal Health Affairs, found that the cost of brand-name oral prescription drugs rose more than 9 percent a year from 2008 and 2016, while the annual cost of injectable drugs rose more than 15 percent."

While 2008 was on Bush's watch, this is the best assessment available of Obamacare's failure.

After decades of presidents applying socialism to the problem, President Trump applied capitalism.

In his speech, he said, "Already, as a result of my Administration's efforts, in 2018 drug prices experienced their single largest decline in 46 years.

"But we must do more. It is unacceptable that Americans pay vastly more than people in other countries for the exact same drugs, often made in the exact same place. This is wrong, unfair, and together we can stop it.

"I am asking the Congress to pass legislation that finally takes on the problem of global freeloading and delivers fairness and price transparency for American patients. We should also require drug companies, insurance companies, and hospitals to disclose real prices to foster competition and bring costs down."

How he stopped the double-digit rises was simple.

The New York Post reported, "President Trump has exposed the dirty secret of drug pricing: There is a shadowy third player in the transaction ­between patients and their pharmacists: middlemen who have taken a big kickback from the drug manufacturer, which may or may not be reflected in patients’ out-of-pocket costs."

He is taking on these money-grubbers.

The newspaper said, "Last week, the Trump administration proposed what could be the single biggest change to the way Americans’ drugs are priced at the pharmacy counter, ever. Under the president’s plan, the current system of kickbacks to middlemen would be replaced with transparent, up-front discounts, delivered directly to patients.

"Each year, more than $150 billion in rebates are passed around the drug-pricing system and ­patients are entirely in the dark about it. In 2017, there were more than $29 billion in rebates in the Medicare Part D program alone, which pays for medication for ­­elderly Americans.

"Under the president’s proposal, kickbacks in Medicare Part D would be eliminated and replaced with ­direct discounts that are passed on to seniors at the pharmacy counter."

For years, politicians have publicly decried rising drug prices, while accepting bribes-disguised-as-campaign-donations from drug companies.

You can see why they and their flunkies at AP detest Donald John Trump.


  1. A simple thing like potassium chloride to keep Cushing's patients alive costs a small fortune.

    Go get 'em.

  2. I have a question. I know that the US Gov't, through Medicare, Medicaid, the VA and other programs, purchase a significant amount of the prescription drugs sold in this country. Also, many private insurance companies use the federal prescription price sheet to price their prescription.

    I own a small Consulting Company. Any time we deal with the US Gov't, we are required to certify that the price we charge the US Gov't is absolutely the lowest price we charge anyone, anywhere.

    We are required to certify that we do not sell the same product or service to ANYONE for less than we charge the US Gov't.

    I thought everyone had to do this.

    So how can the drug companies sell their products to anyone else more cheaply.

    Does anyone know how that works?



    1. You have to rename your service "pharmaceuticals" so you can get more $ from the feds. Congress will apparently go along with that and you'll be safe.

  3. Makes you wonder how those expensive toilet seats and screw drivers got past the gatekeepers. Maybe military asses and screws are somehow different from yours and mine. I know some dumb asses, but that's different.
    - GaryB

  4. So why do we even tolerate politicians fixing the price of anything not just drugs? My gosh we even let the feds regulate the price of money. And you call this a free country. This is the progressive model established early in the 20th century. Its fascist to permit elected officials to control business thru regulation.

  5. Obama bent the costs the wrong way.

  6. this has been an ongoing problem for at least 4 generations now, while obamacare may have expanded the problem in a drastic way, this has been the single largest cost to healthcare world wide, not just in the US.

    Im not sure Trump's solution is the best one, because it still plays the game somewhat, but I also dont see anyone floating a better one that could have enough influence to implement it.

    I put this in the category of trade tariffs, its probably not the best way to go about it, but no one else of any significant influence to do anything is presenting a better option, so tariffs it is.

  7. Last week I was prescribed 2 medications- a lotion and a cream- from a dermatologist for a troublesome skin condition.

    I'm with the VA, but this was a private doctor through the "Choice" program; he told me that the VA had an antiquated prescription program, so I should just go to Walmart or Costco & get the scripts filled. "They won't cost much."

    So I went to Walmart, where a nice young lady told me that one prescription will cost me $115.85, and the second is a mere $820.15! I didn't get them.

    Now I've entered the prescriptions into that "antiquated" VA system, so we'll see how it goes; but I really wasn't expecting such high prices, as my VA meds are either very cheap or free. Someone without health insurance who's not in the VA is in a bad spot indeed!

    1. You might also want to try Goodrx and Blink Health. I have found that they are much cheaper than the Pharmacy for some RX.


    2. As a pharmacist for almost 40 years, I can tell you that drug prices started to climb when insurance and co-pays came into play. The actual price was hiding behind that "cheap or free" co-pay. The drug companies were free to raise the prices with impunity. The drug companies and the insurance companies teamed up to make it happen. If it just stayed cash, the people would've screamed bloody murder at any price increase and the price would have been kept down. And just a reminder, the pharmacy itself is not marking these things up significantly. Your cream and your lotion are probably expensive brand names when some generic creams or lotions could do the trick. I hope the VA (via the taxpayers) come through and pay for your cream/lotion. If not, see if the doctor would consider some old generic standby creams/lotions.

  8. I would like to see a scholarly analysis relating thjr prices of drugs, medical appliances, a d procedures to the reported income of elected officials.