Drug prices in America are out of control. Patients now pay 25% more for brand drugs than they did in 2010, which comes out to about $44 per prescription.
Meanwhile, patient costs for generic drugs has held fairly steady at $8 per prescription. It’s pretty maddening that, while Americans spend around $30 billion a year to support research and development at the National Institutes of Health, we pay twice as much for prescriptions as people in other developed countries.
President Trump could solve this problem quite easily.
First, the President should work with Congress to allow patients and institutions to import lower cost prescription drugs. Critics have long tried to fool people into believing that pharmaceuticals from other countries are potentially dangerous. However, there is no evidence that drugs from countries with similar regulations as the U.S., such as Canada, are not safe. It’s time to ignore scare tactics so that Americans can afford medicines.
Second, the President needs to get Congress to change the law and allow the federal government to negotiate drug prices just like it does when buying other products like pens and paper. The pharmaceutical industry keeps sneaking language into bills so that the law does not allow the government to negotiate prices. Not even the big defense companies that constantly gouge taxpayers for overpriced military equipment have it that good. It’s time for big pharma’s sweet deal with the federal government to end.
On the campaign trail, Candidate Trump talked big about bringing down drug costs for voters. It’s time for President Trump to make good on those promises.
Paul Thacker is a journalist and adviser to nonprofits.