President Trump is expected to give a speech outlining his policies to address increases drug prices on Friday. His HHS secretary Alex Azar was recently quoted saying, “There’s little difference for a sick patient between a miracle cure that hasn’t been discovered and one that is too expensive to use.” DFA members agree with the Secretary's statement and we advocate for policy solutions that ensure our patients have affordable access to essential drug therapies.
In Trump’s speech on drug prices on Friday, we are hopeful that Trump will deliver on his campaign promise to address rising drug costs. However, even in the face of continued price increases, indications are that he will not propose substantial new policies to address the issue or even support positions he has previously advocated for such as allowing Medicare to negotiate for better drug prices.
Very troubling is that fact that he is said to planning to attack other countries that have addressed high drug prices for their citizens. Instead of following these countries examples and enacting similar policies that would allow Americans to benefit from affordable prices, he wants those countries to force their citizens to pay higher prices. As is widely agreed upon, forcing other countries to pay higher prices for drugs will not lead to drug companies, which are profit-maximizing corporations, to lower their prices in the US.
While we expect some limited proposals that may have limited impact, we don’t expect them to be the comprehensive solutions our patients need. There are many policies the president could support to make drugs affordable for Americans such as promoting value-based drug prices, stopping patent abuses, helping physicians understand the prices of the drugs they are prescribing at the point of care and others which have been proposed by representatives. We urge him to support these type of comprehensive solutions that our patients deserve.
Bruce Rector, MD
Co-chair: Doctors for America’s Drug Pricing, Value and Affordability Campaign