Drugs Are Too Damn Expensive! 💊

Photo: Marco Ugarte / AP

Photo: Marco Ugarte / AP

Cheaper drugs?

On Friday, President Trump outlined his plan to lower prescription drug prices. The president’s rhetoric early in his presidency was fiery and strong, famously stating that drug manufacturers were “getting away with murder”. Some are noting that the policy blueprint shows the president backtracking on certain healthcare-related promises made early on.

Key takeaways from his plan

  • Generic drugs will be free for certain low-income Medicare patients
  • Patients will get the benefit of rebates typically offered to insurers 
  • Increase the foreign price of drugs sold outside the U.S.
  • A new proposal would require drug advertisements to include prices
  • Reform existing patent laws that unfairly protect monopolies

America being cheated??

The president was quick to criticize other countries whose governments have negotiated lower prices for American medicines. Trump argued that the inflated prices Americans are paying covers the R&D costs of developing these drugs, while foreign countries reap the advantage by paying less for them.

The right believes Trump’s plan serves the best interests of Americans. They focus on the president’s talking points regarding “taking on” powerful pharmaceutical companies and ending the ongoing “global freeloading.” Furthermore, they discuss the president’s plan to address the regulatory burden on prescription drugs. They view the president’s plan as one that is tough on the pharma industry and will eliminate “the tangled web of special interests.” According to the right, these special interests include “middle-men” and political lobbyists who make millions of dollars at the expense of the American consumer.

The left focuses on Trump’s deviation from his promises made on the campaign trail. They contend that the president made populist claims, which he is now backtracking from in order to serve the interests of the pharmaceutical industry. Furthermore, they are skeptical about how effective the new policy would be in combating high drug prices. They point out the lack of fear among the healthcare industry and rising stock prices as potential indicators that the administration’s policy will not “take on” the pharmaceutical industry and will fail to meet expectations in curbing surging cost.

So am I getting cheaper drugs or what?

While there is criticism, experts claim that some of the president’s ideas could be effective. One such idea is a mandate requiring prescription drug plans to relay discounts and rebates given to them by drug manufacturers to patients on Medicare. This will result in lower out-of-pocket costs for patients on Medicare. While some claim that this may result in an increase in Medicare drug coverage premiums, it does alleviate the financial strain on chronically ill patients by spreading the cost among everyone that is insured. Yes, healthcare is complicated.

Not those drugs



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