Prescription drug costs Archives — Protect Our Care

SHOT/CHASER: Health Company CEOs Made More Than $600 Million Last Year While Skyrocketing Drug Prices Force Americans to Forgo their Medications

SHOT: Health Company CEOs Earned Upwards of $600 Million In 2018. “The CEOs of 23 prominent health care companies earned more than $632 million in 2018…” [Axios, 3/20/19]

CHASER: Drug Pricing is a Deadly National Scandal. “As many as one in every five Americans are trying to cope with Big Pharma’s morally indefensible pricing schemes by leaving prescriptions unfilled, skipping doses or splitting pills. Such desperate economies, coupled with unwitting failure to take medications properly, are said to contribute to some 125,000 deaths every year and as much as $289 billion in additional health costs.” [South Florida Sun Sentinel, 3/19/19]

SOTU PREVIEW: Five Ways The Trump Administration Has Continued To Sabotage Americans’ Health Care Since The Midterms

In November, voters took to the polls and sent a clear message to GOP leaders: end the Republican war on health care. National exit polls showed health care was the top issue to voters, and exit polls of competitive districts found Democrats had an eight point advantage on health care, 52 to 44 percent. Thirty-three members of Congress who voted to repeal the ACA lost their seats.

Despite voters’ clear rejection of the GOP sabotage agenda, President Trump has continued to ruthlessly target Americans’ health care. Here’s a look at five ways he has ignored the will of the American people and taken aim at health care since this fall’s midterm elections:

  1. Just Last Week, President Trump Admitted That He Supports The Goal Of The Lawsuit Led By Republican Attorneys General And Governors To Completely “Terminate” The Affordable Care Act. Trump predicted the Affordable Care Act would be “terminated” through the Texas lawsuit seeking to overturn the law. In December, cherry-picked Federal Judge Reed O’Connor ruled in favor of twenty conservative states to overturn the Affordable Care Act, jeopardizing coverage for 17 million people and ripping away the ACA’s vital consumer protections such as protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
  2. In January, Experts Blamed Trump Administration Sabotage for Driving The Uninsured Rate To Its Highest Level Since The Implementation Of The Affordable Care Act In 2014. Thanks to GOP sabotage, the uninsured rate surged to its highest level since 2014. Roughly seven million fewer people are estimated to have health care now than did two years ago.
  3. In Its Notice Of Benefit And Payment Parameters, The Centers For Medicare And Medicaid Services Actually Proposed Changes That Would Make Consumers Pay More. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) proposed changes to the ACA’s benefit and payment parameters would reduce premium tax credits by $1 billion per year, cause 100,000 people to lose marketplace coverage starting in 2020, increase annual premiums, and increase the out-of-pocket maximum for people with employer-sponsored health care.
  4. The Trump Administration Just Gave PhRMA a Big Win After The Pharmaceutical Industry Spent $280 Million On Lobbying In 2018. In a win for big Pharma, the Trump administration proposed changes to the rebate system that would raise premiums, benefit pharmaceutical companies, and contain no mandate to lower list prices of prescription drugs.
  5. After The Midterm Elections, The Trump Administration Urged States To Allow Federal Subsidies To Be Used To Purchase Junk Plans That Discriminate Against People With Pre-existing Conditions. The Trump administration issued new guidance urging states to “tear down basic pillars of the Affordable Care Act, demolishing a basic rule” that federal subsidies can only be used to purchase ACA-compliant plans. Experts warn against this move, saying it will push affordable, comprehensive care further out of reach for individuals with pre-existing conditions.

Shot/Chaser: Big Pharma Spends More On Lobbying Than Any Other Industry, Gets Rewarded With “Win” In Drug Rebate Proposal

Shot/Chaser: Big Pharma Spends More On Lobbying Than Any Other Industry, Gets Rewarded With “Win” In Drug Rebate Proposal

Big Pharma’s big spending in the last year is paying off with a new Trump administration proposal:

SHOT: Pharmaceutical Industry Spent More On Lobbying In 2018 Than Any Other Industry. Open Secrets issued a report showing that the pharmaceutical industry spent almost $280 million on lobbying in 2018, “with no other industry coming close” in terms of spending.

CHASER: “One Thing That Is Pretty Certain: Pharma Wins.” The Trump administration rolled out a new drug rebate proposal last Thursday, with Axios’ analysis concluding that it would just be another win for Big Pharma, with “no mandate to lower” drug prices for Americans.

Back To Business: Drug Prices Continue To Rise Under Trump

Washington, DC — Just days following the midterm elections that gave Democrats control of the House of Representatives, the Wall Street Journal reports that Pfizer will resume jacking up prices while the Trump administration continues its repeal-and-sabotage agenda. Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, issued the following statement in response:

“To no one’s surprise, now that the election is over, it’s back to business as usual for the drug companies, President Trump, and the Republicans who will allow them to charge consumers whatever they want for life-saving and sustaining prescription drugs. Not two weeks ago, voters delivered the House of Representatives to Democrats and elected scores of other Democrats to public office on the issue of health care — all in a repudiation of the Republicans’ repeal and sabotage agenda and their failure to do anything to address the high cost of prescription drugs.  Republicans might be living by the adage that they are going to dance with the one who brought them, but if they fail to work with the new Democratic majority in the House to address drug prices they may just be dancing their way out of office in two years time.”



Wall Street Journal: Pfizer To Raise Prices On 41 Drugs In January. “Pfizer plans to raise the list prices of 41 of its prescription drugs, or 10 percent of its portfolio, in January, according to a person familiar with the matter. The plans mean Pfizer would resume its practice of raising drug list prices after the company rolled back some increases in July under criticism from President Trump.” [Wall Street Journal, 11/16/18]

Bloomberg: Pharma Earnings Reveal “Trump’s Most Visible Efforts To Strong-arm Them On Prices Hasn’t Caused Much Pain.” “Earnings are now in at most of the biggest pharmaceutical firms, and one thing is clear from their results: One of President Donald Trump’s most visible efforts to strong-arm them on prices hasn’t caused much pain. Pfizer Inc. was called out by Trump in a July tweet over mid-year price increases the drug giant pushed through on a number of its medicines, and the public shaming prompted the company to roll back the increases. That was followed by appeasement from other big pharma firms including Merck & Co., Novartis AG and Roche Holding AG. It’s been obvious from the start that these moves were cosmetic. Roche, for example, promised to forego further price increases this year only after it had already enacted hikes on some of its biggest sellers. But the earnings reports are further proof that efforts intended to mollify the president didn’t involve much if any sacrifice.” [Bloomberg, 10/31/18]

In October, Pfizer Announced That It Would Return To “Business As Normal,” Raising Prices Despite Trump Pressure. “Pfizer CEO Ian Read said the company will return to ‘business as normal’ on its drug pricing in January, after agreeing to hold off on price increases earlier this year following pressure from President Trump…Trump has touted his efforts to get drug companies to hold off on price increases. Fighting high drug prices has been a major focus of his presidency. Pfizer, though, affirmed on Tuesday that the price increases could return in January, given that the agreement only lasted until then.” [The Hill, 10/30/18]

Trump’s Speech: “A Desperate Attempt to Mask Republican Efforts to Gut Protections For Preexisting Conditions And Allow Insurance Companies to Deny Coverage for Prescription Drugs.”

Another PR Stunt that Will Do Little to Bring Down Costs for Americans

Remember: Health Repeal Bills and GOP’s ACA Lawsuit would Repeal Prescription Drug Coverage for Millions of Americans; Junk Plans Pushed by Trump Don’t Require Any Prescription Drug Coverage


Washington, D.C. – Ahead of President Trump’s latest effort to hide the truth of the Republican war on health care, Leslie Dach, chair of Protect Our Care, released the following statement:


“Donald Trump’s speech fails the one in four Americans struggling to afford the prescription drugs they need. Today’s speech flouts  Trump’s campaign promise to let Medicare negotiate drug pricing for drugs sold in pharmacies, and it does nothing to change the fact that Trump and Republicans called for, voted to, and are now suing to repeal the requirements in current law that prescription drugs are covered in insurance plans.


“Between their efforts to repeal prescription drug coverage in Congress and the courts and their work to push junk plans that don’t cover prescription drugs, Trump’s posturing on drug prices is as outrageous as Trump’s professed care and concern for people with pre-existing conditions. Making this announcement 13 days before an election where health care is the number one issue to voters just goes to show the desperation of a president who has led a GOP war on health care and who promised prescription drug price cuts, while drug costs go up for Americans at the same time drug company profits  skyrocket.”




  • After Trump Promised Prescription Drug Price Cuts, Costs Went Way Up. In May, President Trump promised that prescription drug price cuts would be coming in “two weeks.” Months later, the Financial Times reported that several drugmakers raised their prices significantly, including double-digit increases in many cases, and an analysis by the Associated Press found “there were 395 price increases and 24 decreases” in the wake of the announcement and “the two dozen cuts were up from the 15 decreases in those same two months last year.”



  • Drug Prices Continue To Soar Under Trump. From January 1 to July 31 of this year, the Associated Press found there were 96 price hikes for every price cut this year. A recent report by Senate Democrats finds that the prices of the 20 most-prescribed drugs under Medicare Part D have increased substantially over the past five years, rising 10 times faster than inflation. Another report from the Pharmacy Benefits Consultants finds that over the past 14 months, 20 prescription drugs saw list-price increases of more than 200 percent.



  • Trump’s Previous Announcement Was Described As A “Big Win” For Big Pharma. In May, President Trump gave a speech billed as a major policy initiative to lower prescription drug costs. The phony speech was described as everything from a “big win” for pharmaceutical companies to him “[backing] out of his own plan to make drugs cheaper.” Said one drug lobbyist: “A lot of this [stuff] is meaningless to satisfy Trump.”




  • Drug Companies Using Windfall From GOP Tax Scam To Pad Investors’ Pockets. In February, Axios reported that America’s largest pharmaceutical companies were using their windfall from the GOP tax scam to drive up their own stock prices to the tune of $50 billion, “a sum that towers over investments in employees or drug research and development.”




  • Trump Installed Big Pharma Executives In Key Administration Posts. President Trump installed a former Eli Lily executive, Alex Azar, as his secretary of Health and Human Services and his appointment of Scott Gottlieb at FDA was described as “music to pharma’s ears.” Other pharma lobbyists writing Trump’s health policy include senior adviser at FDA, Keagan Lenihan, who joined the administration after lobbying for the drug distribution giant McKesson, former Gilead lobbyist, Joe Grogan, who reviews health care regulations at the Office of Management and Budget, and Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy Lance Leggitt, who has lobbied for a variety of drug-industry clients.



House Republicans Go Home After Doing Nothing to Lower Premiums, Bring Down Drug Costs or Protect People with Pre-Existing Conditions

Washington, D.C. – Following House Republicans’ failure to pass any legislation to address the real concerns of Americans — continuing protections for people with pre-existing health conditions, lowering premiums, or bringing down the cost of prescription drugs — during their so-called “Health Care Week,” Leslie Dach, chair of Protect Our Care, released the following statement:

“The events of this week show that Republicans are running scared because of the mess they are in with their constituents over health care. As they head home for recess, House Republicans are desperate to distract from the fact that every chance they get, they vote to repeal protections for people with pre-existing conditions, jack up premiums, reduce coverage, and give kickbacks to insurance companies, drug companies, and the wealthy. House Republicans may try to hide from it, but Americans know what they are doing to our health care — we are living with the consequences every day. That’s why today, the fight to protect our care is as urgent and as energized as it ever was.”