President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to renegotiate the prices Medicare pays for drugs, arguing that Big Pharma companies have been “let off the hook” by policymakers for decades because Big Pharma has been lining their pockets.
Trump says that on his watch drug prices paid by citizens will be driven down to fairer levels for consumers.
“When it comes time to negotiate the cost of drugs, we are going to negotiate like crazy,” Mr. Trump said at a town-hall event in Exeter, New Hampshire.
“The drug companies probably have the second or third most powerful lobby in this country. They get the politicians, and every single one of them is getting money from them.”
Trump, who touted his negotiating skills as a qualification for the White House, says that hundreds of billions of dollars can and will be saved in the Medicare drug budget through “tough bargaining.” Big Pharma have been colluding with Washington elites for too long and the result was rip-off prices making normal people poorer while big corporations and politicians got richer.
To follow through with his promise to force Big Pharma to price drugs fairly, Trump will have to convince his Republican controlled Congress to grant him the authority to renegotiate, because at present Medicare is barred by law from negotiating prices with Big Pharma.
A recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll revealed that 75% of Republicans support the idea, raising hopes Trump will be able to achieve his goals.
If Congress – under Republican control – agrees to allow Trump to work on new deals for Medicare, then prices of many drugs will begin to tumble.
In the election season, Bernie Sanders also blasted Big Pharma for unfair drug prices, and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio accused drug companies of “pure profiteering” that threatened to “bankrupt our system.” His campaign later tried to soften the remark, saying they were directed at specific companies that had gauged consumers.
The plan to make drug prices fairer for consumers has also been on President Obama’s wishlist for two terms, however the outgoing president has not delivered on the promise.