There are not many issues you can hear both Republicans and Democrats clapping about in unison, but high drug prices is definitely one of them. Echoing his 2016 campaign, President Trump again proclaimed during his State of the Union address Tuesday night that his administration is determined “to make fixing the injustice of high drug prices one of our top priorities.”
Speeding up the approval of lower-cost generics was noted by Trump as “exciting progress,” but nothing substantial has been done by the Trump administration on drug prices. The appointment of Alex Azar to head the Department of Health and Human Services department was a major disappointment. As president of Eli Lilly USA, Azar oversaw major price hikes on lifeline medications, such as insulin.
Appealing to both his base and popular opinion, President Trump could use his executive authority immediately to more expressly permit Americans to buy medication from international pharmacies.
Tagged with: Alex Azar, Eli Lilly, executive authority, State of The Union, trump
This week, President Trump potentially handed Big Pharma one of its greatest victories by appointing Alex Azar the new Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). Why? Until earlier this year, Alex Azar was the president of Eli Lilly USA and few people (companies are people?) on earth personify Big Pharma like Eli Lilly.
This matters to Americans who import lower cost medication to fill prescriptions because the FDA is an agency housed in HHS, and HHS has a lot of statutory power when it comes to importation of prescription drugs.
President Trump campaigned on making it legal for Americans to buy lower-cost medications from other countries, but Eli Lilly and Alex Azar are leading opponents of safe importation. In fact, Eli Lilly is perhaps the leader when it comes to hatching, or funding, strategic communications and lobbying campaigns to stop Americans from using safe, international online pharmacies. Its efforts through the non-profit group, Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies—FUNDED BY ELI LILLY—have been frighteningly successful at fooling our elected officials and the public that international online pharmacies are inherently bad for Americans. They do so by conflating counterfeit drugs and even fentanyl abuse with safe international online pharmacies. As I see it, Eli Lilly’s narrative on online pharmacy and importation incorporates the most sinister aspects of fake news. Really. (more…)
Tagged with: Alex Azar, Eli Lilly, HHS, trump
Yesterday, for a second time, President Trump said drug companies are getting away with murder. This time Trump talked about how much lower drug prices are in other countries:
“If you look at the same exact drug, by the same exact company…sold someplace else, sometimes it’s a fraction of what we pay in this country…We want to bring our prices down to what other countries are paying. I don’t mean [Americans] are paying 2% more. I mean they are paying double, triple, quadruple…”
Using executive authority under current law to expand access to lower-cost imported medications, President Trump could do something about it immediately. The guy is no stranger to executive authority! Currently, he’s using executive authority to put Obamacare out of business, measures which, in case you were wondering, I strongly oppose. Those moves will make people lose their health insurance and are opposed by over half my fellow Americans.
In contrast, if President Trump used his executive authority on drug prices, he would get an overwhelming chorus of support from the Left, Middle, Right and every which way around.
So how does this go down?
Under current law, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, an executive branch agency, can “by regulation or on a case-by-case basis…permit individuals” to import medication if “the importation is clearly for personal use…and the prescription drug or device imported does not appear to present an unreasonable risk to the individual.”
What are you waiting for, boss? See the report by Prescription Justice on using executive authority to allow safe personal drug importation from international online pharmacies.
Tagged with: drug industry, Drug Prices, executive authority, executive order, trump