Why Big Pharma Is Winning Again

It is difficult to imagine two presidencies more different in priorities, tone, and legacy than those of Barack Obama and Donald Trump. One of the few things both men had in common, though, was their shared goal of lowering prescription drug costs and their failure to achieve it. While the passage of the Affordable Care Act remains one of Obama’s signature accomplishments—under the law, the uninsured rate reached a record low of 9 percent—Democrats never got enough votes on legislation to lower medication prices, such as by allowing the government to negotiate with drug companies.

Trump, for his part, broke from his own party as a candidate by advocating for Medicare to negotiate prices. Once in office, he also voiced support for drug discount cards, importing drugs from Canada, and a bipartisan Senate bill that would have capped what some Medicare recipients pay for medications. None of those reforms, however, came to fruition—even though Trump claimed that “drug prices are coming down, first time in 51 years because of my administration,” when they were actually increasing.

Now, it appears that President Joe Biden’s efforts to lower drug prices are as doomed as his predecessors’. In the past month, three House Democrats—Scott Peters of California, Kurt Schrader of Oregon, and Kathleen Rice of New York—and Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema expressed opposition to H.R. 3, the Lower Drug Costs Now Act. The bill would give Medicare the power to…read more


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