Politics, Pricing

Trump blasts Big Pharma again — “somebody’s getting very rich” — and promises drug price legislation

David Ricks, Lilly

On Monday Eli Lilly CEO Dave Ricks outlined his company’s case that their drug prices are not spinning out of control. In a lengthy report he asserted that discounts on drug prices to pharma benefit managers has grown from 28% in 2012 to an average of 50% last year. And while list prices grew 14% last year, net prices actually grew by only 2.4%.

That position reflected a growing effort on Big Pharma’s part — a defensive reaction that also includes two other US-based pharma giants, Merck and J&J — to defend itself against growing pressure from the Trump administration to rein in drug prices.

But it all looks like too little, too late to blunt Trump’s political juggernaut aimed at the retail cost of medicine.

On Monday night, President Trump rallied a crowd in Louisville, Kentucy by repeating a populist pledge to roll back drug prices. And he added that his administration was working to add pricing legislation to the current healthcare bill, or one coming up “right after.”

Once healthcare reform is done and Obamacare has been repealed, he told the crowd, it will be time to get to work on medicine, “bringing down the cost of medicine by having a fair and competitive bidding process. Some people think that’s just as important as healthcare.”

“The cost of medicine in this country is outrageous, many times higher than in some countries in Europe and elsewhere. Why?”

“Same pill, same manufacturer, identical and it’s many times higher in the United States.”

“You know why? Campaign contributions. Who knows. But somebody’s getting very rich.”

“Medicine prices will be coming way down. Way, way, way down.”

The crowd of Trump supporters signaled their support throughout the rally, cheering the president as he roasted Obamacare and pharma companies in what is now familiar language. Wall Street has begun to tune out, less ready to trigger a rout on pharma stocks every time Trump blasts the industry. But today both the XBI and the IBB are in the red, offering fresh evidence of the president’s continued ability to send a chilling message.

Now everyone’s waiting for the actual legislation to see how Trump plans to deliver on his promise regarding drug prices in the US. And that’s something no one will ignore.

Watch the speech here:

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Research Scientist - Immunology
Recursion Pharmaceuticals Salt Lake City, UT
Director of Operations
Atlas Venture Cambridge, MA

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