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President Trump's Plan to Lower Drug Prices
May 14, 2018 at 02:09 PM
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Food For Thought

What are the strengths and weaknesses of President Trump's plan to lower drug prices?

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Why It's Relevant

Last Friday, President Trump unveiled his plan to lower prescription drug prices.

The plan included some broad suggestions that could give the government better leverage when negotiating with pharmaceutical companies. It also suggested that the United States should pressure other nations to raise their prescription drug prices, because, according to President Trump and many pharmaceutical companies, these countries are "free-riding" off of American innovation.

In addition, President Trump said he might require pharmaceutical companies to reveal a drug's price in advertisements, he wants to ban gag-clauses for pharmacists, and he wants to make it tougher for companies to use loopholes to hold onto patent protections.

Food For Thought

What are the strengths and weaknesses of President Trump's plan to lower drug prices?

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Eurasia Review

Trump’s Drug Pricing Scam

Robert Reich
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Our Commentary

This opinion from Robert Reich in Eurasia Review is unabashedly critical of President Trump's proposal. What do you think about the types of arguments made by this op-ed? Leave a reaction below.

  • President Trump's campaign promise to lower prescription drug prices was one of his only sensible proposals, but unfortunately, his long-awaited plan disappoints. It just represents "another battering ram to his ongoing economic war against America's allies."
  • Trump wants other nations to pay more for U.S. drugs, and he uses nonsensical logic to argue that if this occurs, then United States pharmaceutical companies will lower prices in the United States. They would never do that, but they would be happy to rake in more profits abroad.
  • It's a known fact that Americans spend much more on prescription drugs than other nations, but this isn't because foreign countries are free-loading on U.S.-based innovation. America's big pharmaceutical companies spend much more on advertising than they do on research.

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Bloomberg

Trump's 'Sweeping' Drug-Price Plan Comes Up Short

Our Commentary

This opinion from Max Nisen in Bloomberg is moderately critical of the drug pricing plan. What do you think about the types of arguments made by this op-ed? Leave a reaction below.

  • Prior to Trump's speech, U.S. pharmaceutical companies were worried that he might try to address their exorbitant pricing. However, the President's speech barely mentioned the drugmakers at all.
  • Instead of singling out practices from America's drugmakers, Trump chose to lay most of his blame for high prices on pharmacy benefit managers and other nations. He says that these groups have "gotten rich" and that soon, they "won't be so rich any more," but he didn't provide any details about how he will make this happen.
  • It's hard to seriously reduce drug prices without implementing price controls. One decent alternative could be for the U.S. government "to directly negotiate drug prices instead of leaving it to a private patchwork of companies." However, this alternative was not included in Trump's plan.

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Los Angeles Times

Just because Americans pay too much for drugs doesn't mean other countries should have to

Our Commentary

This opinion from Jon Healey in the LA Times is broadly supportive of President Trump's proposal, but is critical of one aspect. What do you think about the types of arguments made by this op-ed? Leave a reaction below.

  • President Trump's plan to reign in prescription drug prices wasn't bad, especially "considering the ideological boundaries involved." It was never realistic to expect Trump, a Republican, to institute price controls, so his free-market-based approach seems to make a good deal of sense.
  • While most of the plan was positive, Trump's complaints about other nations "free-loading" off of U.S.-based innovation felt like a stretch. Other countries will never agree to make their citizens pay more so that U.S. citizens pay less.
  • In the United States, we've chosen to prioritize innovation over affordability. The 20-year monopolies granted to drugmakers provide the incentives needed to encourage gambles on future breakthroughs.

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The Daily Caller

Trump Is Following Through On His Pledge To Lower Drug Prices. Here’s The Plan

Our Commentary

This piece from Steve Birr in the Daily Caller explains many of the perceived benefits of the drug plan. What do you think about the types of arguments made by this author? Leave a reaction below.

  • President Trump's administration has already saved American patients almost $9M in prescription drug costs, and his most recent plan will take his effective strategy even further.
  • In 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it set a record by approving the most generic drugs in the agency's history. This increased competition due to 2017 generic drug approvals saved drug buyers almost $9B.
  • Next, President Trump plans to take on foreign nations who are engaging in "global freeloading." Many of these countries have socialized medicine and essentially subsidize their prescription drug prices with U.S. taxpayer dollars.

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