While traveling abroad to Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Rome, President Trump’s administration has released the newest draft of the president’s budget, a wish-list of the president’s for how the nation should spend tax dollars in the next year.
Though President Trump has gone on-record speaking out against outrageous drug prices and criminal drug companies, there is no mention of any sort of regulation in his tax plan, a clear indication that his previous talk was just that – talk.
The fact that the budget from the POTUS is a mere wish-list makes this omission that much more scathing – even in a no-stakes situation, the POTUS felt no need to call for action based on his own statements from before.
Currently, Big Pharma is free to charge as much for a drug as they like, even if there is no explanation offered for an outrageous price-tag. This means that consumers and insurance companies must pay what is charged for a drug, no matter how exorbitant, or suffer grave health consequences. These companies are holding American healthcare hostage with no consequences.
The gross misuse of the free market was first noticed when so-called “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli raised the price of a vital HIV drug to an exorbitant level. Many other companies followed suit, hiking prices of cancer drugs and diabetes treatments as high as they liked.
Though some politicians like Senator Bernie Sanders have called for something to be done to limit this industry on the behalf of sick Americans, no definitive action has been taken. Some were hopeful when, earlier this year, President Trump seemed to share negative feelings towards Big Pharma, saying that they are “getting away with murder.”
Trump vowed to do something about the way Big Pharma buys and sells its pharmaceuticals in a news conference shortly after his inauguration.
“Pharma has a lot of lobbies, a lot of lobbyists and a lot of power. And there’s very little bidding on drugs. We’re the largest buyer of drugs in the world, and yet we don’t bid properly.”
Unfortunately, Trump’s budget makes no mention of any regulation or taxation on the pharma industry, nor does he attempt to bolster consumers rights on the other side by mandating rebates or Medicare refunds.
Clearly, Trump doesn’t care about the sad state of pharmaceuticals in America, and his past statements were little more than baseless lip service.