Prescription Drugs | Trump Research


Despite making numerous campaign promises to address the high costs of prescription drugs, Trump failed to lower drug prices. 

As a candidate in the 2016 Presidential Election and as President, Trump repeatedly promised that he would reduce prescription drug costs. However, despite these promises, drug prices continued to go up every year of the Trump Administration, and Trump has done little to solve the problem.

The Trump administration failed to pass any meaningful prescription drug legislation or enact any policies to reduce drug costs and backed down from the policies he proposed to lower drug prices:

The Trump administration served as a revolving door for big pharma, with numerous high-ranking positions staffed with former pharmaceutical executives including:

A majority of Americans disapprove of Trump’s handling of prescription drug prices. 

As A Candidate And President-Elect, Trump Vowed To Bring Down Drug Prices

2016 Presidential-Elect Trump: I Am Going To Bring Down Drug Prices. According to Reuters, “President-elect Donald Trump took aim at drugmakers on Wednesday by promising in a magazine interview that “I’m going to bring down drug prices,” sending shares of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies lower. In a cover story for Time magazine, which named him its Person of the Year, Trump said: “I don’t like what has happened with drug prices.  The Republican U.S. president-elect, a wealthy real estate developer who ran a campaign with a populist appeal, did not state in the interview how he would reduce the cost of prescription drugs. Trump previously has suggested he was open to allowing importation of cheaper medicines from overseas.” [Reuters, 12/7/16]

October 25, 2018: Trump Stated That Lower Drug Prices Were ‘One Of [His] Highest Priorities.’ According to a transcript of remarks by President on Prescription Drug Prices, “I’ve been talking about drug price reductions for a long time.  And now we’re doing things that nobody was, let’s say — because I’m speaking on behalf of all of us — bold enough to do.And they’re going to have a tremendous impact […] Since the day I took office, I have made reducing drug prices one of my highest priorities.” [Transcript of Remarks by President Trump on Prescription Drug Prices, 10/25/18]

Despite Repeated Promises And False Claims, Drug Prices Continued To Rise Under Trump

January 7, 2020: The Year Began With Prices Hikes On Hundreds Of Prescription Drugs. According to the Hill, “Price hikes on hundreds of prescription drugs to start the year are leading to intensifying calls for action from lawmakers and advocates, putting new pressure on Washington. Drug companies kicked off the year by raising prices on a wide range of treatments by an average of about 5 percent, according to the consulting firm 3 Axis Advisors.” [The Hill, 1/7/20]

Trump Medicare Cuts Could Raise Prices On Some Prescription Drugs. According to Forbes, “About 11 percent of the cost savings would come from changes in the Medicare Part D drug benefit. Some beneficiaries would pay more out of pocket for prescription drugs and others less, depending on what medications they take and how much they cost. [Forbes, 3/14/19]

President Trump: Drug Prices Are Coming Down For The First Time In 51 Years Because Of My Administration. According to a Washington Post transcript of Trump’s Rose Garden remarks, “Drug prices are coming down, first time in 51 years, because of my administration. But we can get them down way lower, working with the Democrats. We can solve the problem of the border in 15 minutes if the Democrats would give us a few votes.” [Transcript of Trump’s Rose Garden Remarks - Washington Post, 5/22/19]

PolitiFact: Trump’s Claim That Drug Prices Were The Lowest In 51 Years Because Of His Administration As ‘Mostly False.’ According to PolitiFact, “President Donald Trump repeated a misleading claim about the cost of prescription drugs under his watch. ‘Drug prices are coming down, first time in 51 years because of my administration, but we can get them down way lower working with the Democrats,’ Trump said in a May 22 address in the Rose Garden. Trump called a news conference to push back against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s comments accusing Trump of a cover-up related to congressional probes of his administration. We fact-checked a similar statement in April by Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, rating it Mostly False. Nothing has changed our conclusion since then.” [PolitiFact, 5/22/19]

Data From The Federal Government Showed A Uptick In Prescription Prices Between April 2018 And April 2019

Data From The Federal Government Showed A Uptick In Prescription Prices Between April 2018 And April 2019. According to PolitiFact, “In April, the White House directed us to a 2018 report published by its Council of Economic Advisers pointing to efforts by the Trump administration to bring down prescription costs. Also, the White House sent us data suggesting the consumer price index for prescription drugs declined in January 2019 compared with January 2018.The White House sent data stating the cost in January was 11 percent below where trends said it should have been. However, the most recent data from the federal government shows a slight uptick: prescription drug prices increased by 0.3% in April 2019 compared to April 2018.” [PolitiFact, 5/22/19]

Rx Savings Solutions: In 2019, Over 4,300 Drugs Experienced A Price Hike, With The Average Increase Hovering Around 21 Percent. According to Kaiser Health News, “In 2019, 4,311 prescription drugs experienced a price hike, with the average increase hovering around 21%, according to data compiled by Rx Savings Solutions, a consulting group. Meanwhile, 619 drugs had price dips.” [Kaiser Health News, 2/5/20]

Kaiser Family Foundation: Total Spending On Prescription Drug Prices Has Increased During The Past Several Years. According to PolitiFact, “Other measures of drug costs do not support what Trump said. Data from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows total spending on prescription drug prices has climbed during the past several years. (Kaiser Health News, a PolitiFact partner, is an editorially independent program of the foundation.) In 2018, total spending continued to grow, just at a slower pace. That’s a positive trend, experts noted, but it isn’t the same thing as spending going down.” [PolitiFact, 5/22/19]

The List Prices Of Thousands Of Drugs Increased During Trump’s Presidency

Manufacturers Of More Than 250 Prescription Drugs Hiked Prices In Early 2019. According to Reuters, “Drugmakers kicked off 2019 with price increases in the United States on more than 250 prescription drugs, including the world’s top-selling medicine, Humira, although the pace of price hikes was slower than last year. The industry has been under pressure by the U.S. President Donald Trump to hold their prices level as his administration works on plans aimed at lowering the costs of medications for consumers in the world’s most expensive pharmaceutical market.” [Reuters, 1/2/19]

Trump: As A Result Of My Administration, In 2018 Drug Prices Experienced Their Single Largest Decline In 46 Years. According to the Associated Press, “TRUMP: ‘Already, as a result of my administration’s efforts, in 2018 drug prices experienced their single largest decline in 46 years.’” [Associated Press, 02/05/19

AP Fact Check: Despite Trump’s Claims, Drug Prices Increased In 2018. According to the Associated Press, “THE FACTS: Trump is selectively citing statistics to exaggerate what seems to be a slowdown in prices. A broader look at the data shows that drug prices are still rising, but more moderately. Some independent experts say criticism from Trump and congressional Democrats may be causing pharmaceutical companies to show restraint.” [Associated Press, 02/05/19

A Report From AARP’s Public Policy Institute Found That Retail Prices For A Set Of 754 Widely Used Prescription Drugs Increased An Average Of 4.2 Percent In 2017. According to an AARP Public Policy Institute Report, “In 2017, retail prices for a combined set of 754 widely used prescription drugs (brand name, generic, and specialty) increased by an average of 4.2 percent; in contrast, the general inflation rate was 2.1 percent over the same period. The average annual increase in retail prices for the AARP combined set of drug products exceeded the corresponding rate of general inflation every year from 2006 through 2017. These findings are attributable primarily to drug price growth among brand name and specialty drugs, which more than offset often substantial price decreases among generic drugs.” [RX Price Watch Report – AARP Public Policy Institute, September 2019

The Trump Administration Claimed Credit For Lowering Pharmacy Drug Prices Despite The Trends Starting During The Obama Administration. According to Politico, “Prices for drugs bought at the pharmacy counter are still falling at ‘historic levels,’ the White House’s Council of Economic Advisors said in a blog post last week that drew on an October report criticizing media outlets that reported otherwise. Critics of the measurement that CEA uses, the CPI prescription drugs index from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, argue that it only shows a slice of the market because it is limited to medicines bought at pharmacies and does not account for newly launched products or Part B medicines — often the most expensive. CEA said record-high FDA approvals of generic drugs — a trend that started in the Obama administration — have driven pharmacy-counter price trends.” [Politico, 11/12/19

As A Presidential Candidate, Trump Stated That Medicare Should Be Able To Negotiate Prescription Drug Prices

January 26, 2016: Trump Stated That Medicare Should Be Able To Negotiate Drug Prices With Major Pharmaceutical Companies. According to Stat News, “Republican front-runner Donald Trump says he could save Medicare billions of dollars by getting the massive federal agency to negotiate prices with the major pharmaceutical companies. Trump told an enthusiastic crowd of about 1,000 people packed into a high school gymnasium Monday night in Farmington, N.H., that Medicare could ‘save $300 billion’ a year by getting discounts as the biggest buyer of prescription drugs. Said Trump: ‘We don’t do it. Why? Because of the drug companies.’” [Associated Press, 1/26/16]

Trump Reversed His Pledge To Support Negotiations With Pharmaceutical Companies Over The Price Of Prescription Drugs For Medicare Recipients. According to The Hilltop, “President Trump is backing off his 2016 campaign pledge to negotiate drug prices for Medicare with pharmaceutical companies, drawing fire from Democrats after months of talks on the issue with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). During his campaign, Trump famously broke with Republican orthodoxy with his support for having the government negotiate lower drug prices. ‘When it comes time to negotiate the cost of drugs, we are going to negotiate like crazy,’ Trump said in New Hampshire in early 2016. Pelosi’s staff spent months over the course of this year trying to get White House support for her measure to allow the government to negotiate prices for up to 250 drugs per year, with tough financial penalties for companies that refused to come to the table. But after months of holding his fire, Trump is now publicly bashing Pelosi’s bill. And while Trump still talks about the need to lower drug prices in general, he has not proposed an alternative drug price negotiation plan of his own.” [Hilltop, 11/24/19]

Despite Accusations Of Breaking Campaign Promises And His Public Criticism Of The Proposed Medicare Drug Price Negation Plan, The White House Insisted Trump Supports Lowering Drug Prices. According to The Hilltop, “‘Pelosi and her Do Nothing Democrats drug pricing bill doesn’t do the trick. FEWER cures! FEWER treatments!’ Trump tweeted on Friday, echoing the traditional Republican argument that negotiation would hinder development of new drugs. ‘Time for the Democrats to get serious about bipartisan solutions to lowering prescription drug prices for families.’ Trump’s tweets came after he met with Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), a leading opponent of Pelosi’s bill, on Thursday. But Democrats say Trump is breaking his promise. ‘President Trump campaigned on that promise to negotiate Medicare prices, and the House is going to pass a bill that does that, and he will not support it,’ said Topher Spiro, vice president for health policy at the liberal Center for American Progress. White House officials argue that Trump is still committed to the overall goal of lowering drug prices. He just wants to focus on a bill that actually has a chance of passing the Republican-controlled Senate and being signed into law, they added.” [Hilltop, 11/24/19]

Trump’s Health Care Plan Promoted The Importation Of Prescription Drugs From Overseas As A Way To Lower Prices. According to Stat News, “Donald Trump released a health care plan late Wednesday that includes common Republican ideas for replacing Obamacare but departs from conventional GOP policies in one major way: it would allow the reimportation of cheaper drugs from overseas. It’s the second time that Trump, now the clear front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, has embraced an idea to bring down drug costs that’s associated more with Democrats like Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders than with the party he’s trying to lead […] However, the last provision of his new seven-point plan is: ‘Remove barriers to entry into free markets for drug providers that offer safe, reliable, and cheaper products.’” [Stat News, 3/2/16]

Trump’s Health Plan: Allowing Consumers Access To Imported Drugs From Overseas Will Bring More Options to Consumers. According to Stat News, “However, the last provision of his new seven-point plan is: “Remove barriers to entry into free markets for drug providers that offer safe, reliable, and cheaper products.” “Congress will need the courage to step away from the special interests and do what is right for America,” the plan says. “Though the pharmaceutical industry is in the private sector, drug companies provide a public service. Allowing consumers access to imported, safe, and dependable drugs from overseas will bring more options to consumers.” [Stat News, 3/2/16]

December 2019: Trump Administration Released A Plan To Green-Light The Importation Of Certain Drugs From Canada. According to Forbes, “Late last month, the Trump administration released a plan that would green-light the importation of certain drugs from Canada and potentially other foreign countries. The administration's proposal comes on the heels of legislative pushes by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida and Democratic Governor Jared Polis of Colorado to import drugs from Canada. Other states are considering similar measures. Drugs tend to be less expensive abroad because foreign governments aggressively control their prices. Importing cheap drugs from Canada would seem to be a straightforward way to bring those lower prices to America.” [Forbes, 1/6/20]

Azar: Drug Importation Was A ‘Gimmick.’ According to Secretary Azar’s Remarks on Drug Pricing Blueprint, “I want to raise a final point in the context of competition: Many people may be familiar with proposals to give our seniors access to cheaper drugs by importing drugs from other countries, such as Canada. This, too, is a gimmick. It has been assessed multiple times by the Congressional Budget Office, and CBO has said it would have no meaningful effect.” [Azar’s Remarks on Drug Pricing Blueprint – HHS, 5/14/18]

After Rejecting Speaker Pelosi’s Medicare Price Proposal, The Trump Administration Sought To Quell Criticism About Rising Cost Of Prescription Drugs By Supporting A Bipartisan Senate Bill Which Proposes To Lower Costs.

According to the Associated Press, “After months of dialogue, the White House and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have parted ways on Medicare price negotiations that Pelosi advocates and Trump — unlike most Republicans — once supported in principle. Instead Trump is backing a compromise bipartisan bill in the Senate, which does not give Medicare bargaining authority, but forces drugmakers to pay rebates if they raise prices too high. Grogan said the administration is working to line up Republican support for the Senate bill while trying to sweeten its impact by plowing more of the government’s savings from reduced drug prices into benefits for seniors.” [Associated Press, 11/18/19]

The Senate Bill Had No Clear Path To Trump’s Desk. According to the Associated Press, “The bipartisan Senate legislation would cap what Medicare beneficiaries pay out of pocket for medicines and require drugmakers to pay rebates to Medicare if they hike prices above the inflation rate. Its lead authors are Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Ron Wyden, D-Ore. But Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has made no public commitment to bring it to the floor. The more ambitious House Democratic bill would build on the Senate’s foundation but also authorize Medicare to negotiate prices for the costliest drugs. That would limit high launch prices for new drugs, not just price increases. Medicare’s discounts would be provided to privately insured people as well. Pelosi is driving toward a floor vote, but right now neither bill has a clear path to Trump’s desk.” [Associated Press, 11/18/19]

Democrats Asserted Trump Failed To Follow Through On Campaign Promises As Prescription Drug Prices See A Begin Of The Year Spike In Cost. According to The Hill, “Price hikes on hundreds of prescription drugs to start the year are leading to intensifying calls for action from lawmakers and advocates, putting new pressure on Washington. Drug companies kicked off the year by raising prices on a wide range of treatments by an average of about 5 percent, according to the consulting firm 3 Axis Advisors. ‘Enough is enough,’ Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) tweeted, pointing to the hikes and calling on the Senate to pass her signature legislation to lower drug prices ‘now.’ Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) also pointed to the increases to call for action on drug prices. Drug price hikes at the start of a new year are common, but the latest round followed a year in which lawmakers and the administration spoke optimistically about reining in higher prices. Congress, however, ultimately ended 2019 without any major legislation being enacted, to the frustration of advocates. The latest move highlighted the power of the pharmaceutical industry. Pfizer, for example, which has been criticized harshly in the past by President Trump, raised prices on about 27 percent of its drugs by an average of 5.6 percent. Companies note that the list prices of drugs are often well above what consumers pay at the pharmacy counter. But pharmaceutical companies, who are already under fire from both Congress and the administration, can expect more scrutiny, with the hikes certain to fuel the debate over costs in the 2020 election. The drug hikes will be fodder for both parties, who have hammered pharmaceutical companies and those across the aisle. Democrats have accused Trump of failing to follow through on his promises to address the issue, in particular attacking him for backing off a 2016 campaign pledge to support allowing Medicare to negotiate lower prices.” [Hill, 1/6/2020]

Trump Killed His Own Rule To Eliminate The Rebates Collected By Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs), A Significant Part Of His Administration’s Plan To Lower Drug Prices. According to Axios, “A big part of the Trump administration's plan to lower drug prices is now dead, White House spokesman Judd Deere confirmed to Axios. Why it matters: The administration is backing away from an effort to change the way money flows through federal health care programs — one of the most sweeping elements of its drug-pricing blueprint. That's bad news for pharma, and the move will put pressure on other parts of the administration's plan, which is also bad news for pharma.” [Axios, 7/11/19]

Pharmacy Benefit Managers Or PBMs Were Companies That Managed Prescription Drug Benefits On Behalf Of Health Insurers. According to the Common Wealth Fund, “Pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs, are companies that manage prescription drug benefits on behalf of health insurers, Medicare Part D drug plans, large employers, and other payers. By negotiating with drug manufacturers and pharmacies to control drug spending, PBMs have a significant behind-the-scenes impact in determining total drug costs for insurers, shaping patients’ access to medications, and determining how much pharmacies are paid.” [Commonwealth Fund, 4/22/19]

The Proposal Would Eliminate Drug Rebates Received By Pharmacy Benefit Managers From Medicare And Medicaid

The Proposal Would Eliminate Drug Rebates Received By Pharmacy Benefit Managers From Medicare And Medicaid. According to Forbes, “The rule Trump withdrew would’ve ended rebates paid to health plans and pharmacy benefit managers, known as PBMs, which are middlemen between drug makers and consumers when it comes to purchasing drugs and providing prescription coverage. The PBM’s role is in part to leverage its negotiating clout to get the best drug prices on behalf of its diverse base of customers that include large employers as well as Medicare and Medicaid.” [Forbes, 7/11/19]

Trump’s Decision To Kill The Rule Was Good News For The Same ‘Middlemen’ He Claimed Were Getting Rich Off U.S. Drug Pricing. According to Forbes, “News that Donald Trump has killed a plan to eliminate rebates health plans receive from the government when negotiating drug purchases for seniors is good news for ‘the middlemen’ he once said were getting rich off U.S. drug pricing. A check of health insurer stock prices Thursday will tell you they'll still be getting rich off of their drug benefit businesses after the Trump White House reversed course on drug pricing policy.” [Forbes, 7/11/19]

After News That Trump Killed The Rebate Rule, Share Prices Of Big Health Insurers That Owned PBMs Soared. According to Forbes, “Wall Street doesn’t seem to think health insurers will be less rich now with the share prices of big health insurers that own PBMs soaring on Thursday. Cigna, which owns the big PBM Express Scripts, saw the price of its shares jump $14 on Thursday afternoon while UnitedHealth Group, which owns the PBM OptumRx, saw the price of its shares jump more than $12 per share. And CVS Health, which owns the Caremark PBM, and Humana, which owns its own PBM, also saw big increases Thursday in the price of their shares.” [Forbes, 7/11/19]

Trump: The Middlemen Became Very, Very Rich. Right? According to Forbes, “‘We're very much eliminating the middlemen,’ Trump said of his administration’s proposed ‘American Patients First’ blueprint to lower prices unveiled last year. ‘The middlemen became very, very rich. Right?’ ‘Whoever those middlemen were — and a lot of people never even figured it out — they're rich,’ Trump said last year. ‘They won't be so rich anymore.’” [Forbes, 7/11/19]

However, Insurers And PBM’s Claimed That Trump’s Rule Would Have Backfired In The Form Of Higher Premiums For Americans 

Insurers And PBM’s Claimed That Trump’s Rule Would Have Backfired In The Form Of Higher Premiums For Americans. According to Forbes, “But health plans and PBMs said the rules Trump and his team, including U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar were pursuing were going to backfire in the form of higher premiums paid by Americans. The Better Medicare Alliance, which represents CVS Health, Humana and UnitedHealth Group said the proposed rebate rule ‘would have had the harmful effect of increased premiums or reduced benefits for millions of beneficiaries in Medicare Advantage.’ Health insurers reasoned an end to rebates merely ‘takes out negotiated savings without requiring drug makers to lower their prices,’ according to information health insurers submitted to the White House and Congress.” [Forbes, 7/11/19]

America’s Health Insurance Plans: The ‘Safe Harbor Rebate Rule’ Would Have Increased Costs To Taxpayers By 25 Percent. According to Forbes, “America’s Health Insurance Plans, the lobby for health insurers that own PBMs including Cigna, Anthem and Centene, say the proposed Medicare Part D ‘safe harbor rebate rule’ would have increased the cost or premiums paid by seniors and, in turn, increased costs to taxpayers by 25%, or nearly $200 billion.” [Forbes, 7/11/19]

June 24, 2019: Trump Signed An Executive Order On Price Transparency In Healthcare Aimed At Lowering Health Care Costs By Showing Prices To Patients. According to NPR, “President Trump signed an executive order Monday on price transparency in health care that aims to lower rising health care costs by showing prices to patients. The idea is that if people can shop around, market forces may drive down costs. ‘Hospitals will be required to publish prices that reflect what people pay for services,’ said President Trump at a White House event. ‘You will get great pricing. Prices will come down by numbers that you wouldn't believe. The cost of healthcare will go way, way down.’” [NBC News, 6/24/19]

The Executive Order Did Not Spell Out Any Specific Actions But Directed HHS To Develop A Policy Addressing Price Transparency. According to NPR, “Like several of President Trump's other health policy-related announcements, today's executive order doesn't spell out specific actions, but directs the department of Health and Human Services to develop a policy and then undertake a lengthy rule-making process. ‘The president knows the best way to lower costs in health care is to put patients in control by increasing choice and competition,’ HHS Secretary Alex Azar said at a phone briefing for reporters Monday morning.” [NBC News, 6/24/19]

The Healthcare Industry Argued That The Transparency Requirement Would Increase Prices, Rather Than Lower Them. According to NBC News, “Push back from various corners of the healthcare industry came quickly, with hospital and health plan lobbying organizations arguing this transparency requirement would have the unintended consequence of pushing prices up, rather than down. ‘Publicly disclosing competitively negotiated, proprietary rates will reduce competition and push prices higher — not lower — for consumers, patients, and taxpayers,’ said Matt Eyles, CEO of America's Health Insurance Plans in a statement. He says it will perpetuate ‘the old days of the American health care system paying for volume over value. We know that is a formula for higher costs and worse care for everyone.’” [NBC News, 6/24/19]

Senior VP For Health Reform At Kaiser Family Foundation: I Am Skeptical That Disclosure Of Health Care Prices Will Drive Prices Down. According to NBC News, “Some health economists and industry observers without a vested interest expressed a similar view. Larry Levitt, senior vice president for health reform the Kaiser Family Foundation, tweeted that although the idea of greater price transparency makes sense from the perspective of consumer protection, it doesn't guarantee lower prices. ‘I'm skeptical that disclosure of health care prices will drive prices down, and could even increase prices once hospitals and doctors know what their competitors down the street are getting paid,’ Levitt wrote.” [NBC News, 6/24/19]

Trump Appointed Eli Lilly Executive Alex Azar To Be HHS Secretary. According to PBS, “Before joining the Trump administration, Azar was a top executive for drugmaker Eli Lilly. That led to criticism that he would be an industry pawn. But the drugmakers vehemently disagree with some of his other ideas, including an experiment using lower international drug prices to cut some Medicare costs.” [PBS, 2/1/19]

As A Top Manager At Eli Lilly And Company, Azar Was Responsible For Steep Drug Increases

As A Top Manager At Eli Lilly And Company, Azar Was Responsible For Steep Increases On Insulin And Other Drugs. According to the New York Times, “This week, Mr. Azar, a former pharmaceutical executive, is expected to face tough questions at a Senate confirmation hearing over why his own company raised prices. Democratic senators say that, as a top manager at Eli Lilly and Company, he was responsible for steep increases on insulin and other drugs […] Patients and members of Congress criticized increases in list prices for insulin while Mr. Azar was the president of Lilly USA, the company’s largest affiliate, which is responsible for more than 40 percent of its global revenue.” [New York Times, 11/26/20]

Type 1 Diabetes Defense Foundation: Azar Condoned Lilly’s ‘Overpricing Of Insulin’ And Patients Suffered As A Result.’ According to the New York Times, “In a letter to the health committee, the Type 1 Diabetes Defense Foundation, a nonprofit group, said that Mr. Azar had condoned Lilly’s ‘overpricing of insulin’ and that some patients had suffered as a result. In filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission over the past seven months, Lilly said it had received demands for information about the pricing of its insulin products from offices of the attorneys general in California, Florida, Minnesota, New Mexico and Washington State. Drug companies have long said high prices are not a concern because they provide big discounts and rebates on many products. But in the last year, as public outcry has grown, Mr. Azar has acknowledged a problem.” [New York Times, 11/26/20]

Head Lobbyist For McKesson Served As FDA Chief Of Staff And Former Senior Counsel To HHS Secretary

Head Lobbyist For McKesson, Keagan Resler Lenihan, Served As FDA Chief Of Staff And Was Former Senior Counsel To The HHS Secretary. According to a Buzzfeed News op-ed by Kyle Herrig, “Keagan Resler Lenihan — the chief of staff at the FDA and former senior counselor to the HHS secretary — ran lobbying efforts for the pharmaceutical company McKesson as senior director of government affairs from 2011–2016. In November, federal prosecutors launched a new criminal investigation into McKesson's opioid work; the company is currently facing an investor lawsuit regarding drug price-fixing.”[Buzzfeed News, 1/24/20]

Trump’s Director Of The White House Domestic Policy Council, Joe Grogan, Was A Lobbyist For The Pharmaceutical Company Gilead Sciences. According to a Buzzfeed News op-ed by Kyle Herrig, “The director of the Domestic Policy Council for the White House is Joe Grogan. From 2011 to 2017, he was a lobbyist for the pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences. The House Oversight Committee looked into Grogan's conflict of interest; Rep. Elijah Cummings said it appeared to ‘run afoul of the Trump Administration’s own ethics rules.’” [Buzzfeed News, 1/24/20]

May 24, 2020: Top White House Policy Adviser Joe Grogan Planned To Leave His Post As Head Of The Domestic Policy Council. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Top White House policy adviser Joe Grogan is leaving his post, the latest sign of turnover as the administration grapples with a coronavirus pandemic. Mr. Grogan, head of the Domestic Policy Council, said in an interview he was leaving on good terms with President Trump and has already stayed in the position longer than he’d planned. He said he would leave on May 24.” [Wall Street Journal, 4/29/20]

During His Time In The Administration, Grogan Worked To Roll Back Drug Pricing Control Efforts. According to Buzzfeed News op-ed by Kyle Herrig, “Since joining the administration, Grogan has worked to roll back drug pricing control efforts, including inviting a member of his former employer’s advisory board to speak to a working group, ostensibly trying to bring down drug prices. The Atlantic reported that he "seems poised to take his momentum into drug pricing, pushing largely to maintain the 'status quo.'” [Buzzfeed News, 1/24/20]

White House Tapped Former Pharmaceutical Executive And Venture Capitlaist As ‘Therapeutics Czar’

White House Tapped Moncef Slaoui, Former Head Of GlaxoSmithKline’s Vaccine Division To Serve As The Administration’s ‘Therapeutics Czar.’ According to Politico, “The former head of GlaxoSmithKline’s vaccine division will serve as the Trump administration’s ‘therapeutics czar,’ working to speed the development of potential coronavirus vaccines, three individuals with knowledge of the selection told POLITICO. Moncef Slaoui, who left the drugmaker in 2017 and has worked as a venture capitalist, will help coordinate the development of Covid-19 vaccines and treatments in a role shared between the Health and Human Services and Defense departments. President Donald Trump has instructed officials to attempt to rush a vaccine to market this year, part of an effort the administration is calling ‘Operation Warp Speed.’” [Politico, 5/13/20]

Trump Medicare Cuts Could Raise Prices On Some Prescription Drugs. According to Forbes, “About 11 percent of the cost savings would come from changes in the Medicare Part D drug benefit. Some beneficiaries would pay more out of pocket for prescription drugs and others less, depending on what medications they take and how much they cost.” [Forbes, 3/14/19]

Manufacturers Of More Than 250 Prescription Drugs Hiked Prices In Early 2019. According to Reuters, “Drugmakers kicked off 2019 with price increases in the United States on more than 250 prescription drugs, including the world’s top-selling medicine, Humira, although the pace of price hikes was slower than last year. The industry has been under pressure by the U.S. President Donald Trump to hold their prices level as his administration works on plans aimed at lowering the costs of medications for consumers in the world’s most expensive pharmaceutical market.” [Reuters, 1/2/19]

Health And Human Services Was Staffed With Former Pharmaceutical Industry Lobbyists 

Kimberly Brandt, The HHS Principal Deputy For Operations Was A Lobbyist For Endo Pharmaceuticals. [Trump Town – ProPublica, Accessed 5/20/20]

Robert Charrow, General Counsel For The HHS Was A Lobbyist At Greenberg Traurig LLP Representing Health Professionals And Pharmaceuticals And Health Products. [Open Secrets, 6/8/20]

Former White House Liaison For Political Personnel, Timothy Clark, Was Senior Director For Government Affairs For Eisai Inc., A Pharmaceutical Subsidiary. [Open Secrets, Accessed 6/8/20]

Kelly Marie Cleary, Former CMS Chief Legal Counsel, Was A Lobbyist For Johnson & Johnson. [Trump Town – ProPublica, Accessed 5/20/20]

Eric Hargan, Former Acting Deputy Secretary For HHS, Was A Shareholder At Greenberg Traurig LLP Representing Pharmaceuticals, Health Products, Hospitals, Nursing Homes. [Open Secrets, Accessed 6/8/20]

Jennifer Lynn Healy, Chief Of Staff For The HHS Office Of Global Affairs Was A Lobbyist For Adapt Pharma, Braeburn Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Amerisource Bergen. [Trump Town – ProPublica, Accessed 5/20/20]

John C. Kalavritinos, Director Of Intergovernment Relations At HHS, Was Director Of Government Affairs At Covidien Ltd., A Surgical Device Company. [Open Secrets, Accessed 6/8/20] [Medtronic, Accessed 6/9/20]

Former HHS Deputy Assistant Secretary For Congressional Relations, Ashley Palmer, Was Director Of Government Affairs For The Health Industry Distributors Association. [Open Secrets, Accessed 6/9/20]

Former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Legislation Oversight and Investigations Colin Thomas Roskey Lobbied For Adams Laboratories, Inc., Aventis Pharmaceuticals, Inc.,  AmerisourceBergen Corporation, Bayer Healthcare, Boehringer & Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Endo Pharmaceuticals, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Pfizer, Retrophin, Roche Diagnostics, U.S. Pharmacopeia, Verax Biomedical, And ZLB Behring LLC. [Trump Town – ProPublica, Accessed 5/20/20]

Former HHS Policy Advisor Emily Wilkinson Lobbied for Purdue Pharma LLP, And the United States Pharmacopeial Convention. [Trump Town – ProPublica, Accessed 5/20/20]

A Majority Of Americans Disapproved Of Trump’s Handling Of Prescription Drug Prices

Kaiser Family Foundation Poll: 54 Percent Of Americans Think Trump Failed To Lower Prescription Drug Prices As He Promised. According to the Washington Examiner, “A majority think President Trump is failing to lower prescription drug prices as promised, according to a new survey, indicating that he may be at a disadvantage on one of the most sensitive election issues. Trump’s approval rating for his efforts to lower prescription drug prices fell to 30%, with 54% disapproving, according to new Kaiser Family Foundation polling. The new polling numbers come on the heels of reports that the president lashed out at Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar earlier this month for neglecting to come up with a plan to lower drug prices. Trump told Azar over the phone that he was ‘not getting it done’ and needed to ‘hurry up’ on enacting measures to lower drug prices.” [Washington Examiner, 1/30/20]

KFF: Trump’s Net Approval On Healthcare Related Issues Was Lowest On His Handling Of Prescription Drug Costs 

Kaiser Family Foundation Poll: Trump’s Net Approval Rate On Healthcare Related Issues Was Lowest On His Handling Of Prescription Drug Costs.

[Kaiser Family Foundation, 1/30/20]

Gallup-West Health Poll: 66 Percent Of Adult’s Don’t Believe Trump Has Made Any, Or Very Much Progress In Limiting The Rising Cost Of Prescription Drugs. According to the Associated Press “The pressure is on Trump. A Gallup-West Health poll finds that 66 percent of adults don’t believe the Trump administration has made any progress, or very much progress, in limiting the rising cost of prescription drugs. ‘If I were the president of the United States, facing a very difficult reelection campaign, I would want to have something to show people in this area,’ said political scientist Bill Galston of the Brookings Institution.” [Associated Press, 11/18/19]