What’s proposed in the draft (lessening consumer protections and increasing unjust patent enforcement) will of course result in higher costs for medications among Americans. This is actually among the worst of the policies, since the legalized, organized drug gangs known as large pharmaceutical corporations have rarely lost legislative battles before, and will probably not lose them in the near future either.
Prescription drug prices are an example of what’s nearing a crucial breaking point for the American public too. There isn’t much more that a lot of the socioeconomic class can take before somehow revolting.
In the early days of his administration, President Trump did not hesitate to bash the drug industry. But a draft of an executive order on drug prices appears to give the pharmaceutical industry much of what it has asked for — and no guarantee that costs to consumers will drop.
The draft, which The New York Times obtained on Tuesday, is light on specifics but clear on philosophy: Easing regulatory hurdles for the drug industry is the best way to get prices down.
The proposals identify some issues that have stoked public outrage — such as the high out-of-pocket costs for medicines — but it largely leaves the drug industry unscathed. In fact, the four-page document contains several proposals that have long been championed by the industry, including strengthening drugmakers’ monopoly power overseas and scaling back a federal program that requires pharmaceutical companies to give discounts to hospitals and clinics that serve low-income patients.
With a new administration in place, the pharmaceutical and health products industry spent $78 million in lobbying in the first quarter, a 14 percent increase over last year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Many of the people Mr. Trump has hired to work on drug policy have ties to the industry. Joe Grogan, the associate director of health programs in the budget office, worked as the head of federal affairs for Gilead, whose expensive hepatitis C drugs have helped fuel the debate over rising drug costs. Tom Price, the secretary of health and human services, was a Republican congressman whose policies were seen as industry-friendly and who opposed measures like allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices. And the new commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, Scott Gottlieb, was a longtime consultant to the drug industry.