Pharma to blame for impeachment woes? Yep, President Trump just suggested that about America's least favorite industry
President Donald Trump suggested today without evidence that the pharmaceutical industry is behind the new impeachment inquiry from House Democrats.
“I would be very surprised if the hoax didn’t come a little bit from the people that we’re taking on… I wouldn’t be surprised if it was from some of these industries that we take on, like pharma,” Trump said. He was speaking in central Florida at an official White House event on Medicare. HHS secretary Alex Azar, a former president of the US division of Eli Lilly, was in attendance.
The accusations come on the heels of an industry reputation poll from Pew last month that rates the pharmaceutical industry dead last among Americans, even a full 21% lower than the healthcare industry. Trump rode into the presidency attacking institutions that had lost public trust – the Washington “swamp”, the “crooked” news media — and pharma is an easy target.
News that pharma is in-cahoots with Democrats to oust a president may come as a surprise to those within the industry, as lobbyists and top players came out forcefully against Nancy Pelosi’s new far-reaching bill to allow the federal government to negotiate prices for Medicare’s most expensive drugs. The industry has similarly taken aim at price-regulating proposals from Trump and top Democratic presidential candidates.
The president also waxed lyrical about a number of issues pertinent to biopharma watchers.
After winning some applause for a line about generic drug approvals, he claimed anytime he sees people from the FDA he prods them to go faster.
FDA generic approvals winning some applause. Trump says every time he sees the folk at FDA, he tells them: "Faster, faster."
— Zach Brennan (@ZacharyBrennan) October 3, 2019
He then pivoted to right-to-try, giving an entirely false rendition of what the law actually covers (compassionate use for patients with a life-threatening condition who have exhausted other options and are seeking a drug that has passed Phase I but not been FDA approved) and claimed “miracles are happening.” It’s a line he often uses although the first patient to take advantage of the May 2018 law was only dosed this year.
Next he turned to his judicially-blocked regulation to force drug companies to disclose prices in commercials, saying they were “almost” there.
Trump also had a few lines on drug importation, telling Florida’s Republican governor Ron DeSantis, who was in attendance, that he will be able to “negotiate til his heart’s content,” and will be able to go to Canada and European countries to find lower prices, “and I have a feeling that when that happens, the drug companies are just going to drop their prices, I think. Now they’re very smart, they may go the other way. And when they do, don’t blame me.”