Wednesday, February 1, 2017

'Negotiator' Trump caves to big pharma

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 31: (AFP OUT) U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Robert J. Hugin, Executive Chairman, Celgene Corporation, as he meets with representatives from PhRMA, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on January 31, 2017 in Washington, DC.  According to its website, PhRMA "represents the country's leading biopharmaceutical researchers and biotechnology companies." Kenneth C. Frazier, Chairman and CEO of Merck & Co. looks on from left. (Photo by Ron Sachs - Pool/Getty Images)
Trump shakes with PhRMA on new plan to give them whatever they want.

Today, after a meeting with pharmaceutical industry lobbyists and executives, he abandoned that pledge, referring to an idea he supported as recently as three weeks ago as a form of “price fixing” that would hurt “smaller, younger companies.” Instead of getting tough, Trump’s new plan is that he’s “going to be lowering taxes” and “getting rid of regulations.” […]
As recently as January 11, President-elect Trump was promising to revisit this policy.
"Pharma has a lot of lobbies, a lot of lobbyists and a lot of power. And there's very little bidding on drugs," he said at a press conference at Trump Tower in Manhattan. "We're the largest buyer of drugs in the world, and yet we don't bid properly."
Today he apparently changed his mind. According to Herb Jackson, the designated pool reporter for the day, Trump's new policy on prescription drugs is that drug companies should get tax cuts and deregulation.
Here's what he said: "I'll oppose anything that makes it harder for smaller, younger companies to take the risk of bringing their product to a vibrantly competitive market.

"That includes price-fixing by the biggest dog in the market, Medicare, which is what's happening. But we can increase competition and bidding wars, big time." That makes no sense, compared to what he’s previously said about Medicare—either Medicare is “price-fixing” (?) or it’s not bidding “properly.” Those things aren’t the same. Further, here's what he said about how he’s going to fix pharma now, apparently to save money for the government (?): "We're going to be lowering taxes, we're going to be getting rid of regulations that are unnecessary."

Competition through corporate tax cuts and deregulation, at the cost of people on Medicare, is pretty much Paul Ryan's wet dream. As for Medicare price-fixing, who knows what he means, but it's probably this: "someone, somewhere, probably tried to explain formularies to him. (I suspect it didn't take.)" Trump doesn't have to worry about things like what prescription drugs his plan will cover (chances are, his doctor just has a stash he dispenses directly from and there's no need for dealing with pesky pharmacies or insurance).

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