In his second week on the job, President Donald John Trump already has fulfilled many of his campaign promises — and more — showing himself to be true to his word.
Yesterday, January 31, President Trump met with the heads of some of the biggest pharmaceutical companies and told them they must reduce the “astronomical” high costs of prescription drugs.
ZeroHedge reports that at yesterday’s meeting were:
- Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America CEO Stephen Ubl
- Merck & Co. CEO Ken Frazier
- Eli Lilly & Co. CEO Dave Ricks
- Celgene Corp. CEO Bob Hugin
- Novartis AG CEO Joe Jimenez
- Johnson & Johnson Worldwide Chairman of Pharmaceuticals Joaquin Duato
Trump told the drugmakers “You folks have done a very great job over the years” and “produced extraordinary results for our country,” but they were charging “astronomical” prices and “we have to get the prices down”.
Trump said “Competition is key to lowering drug prices” and vowed to get better bargains for government health programs. He has threatened to have the government negotiate prices directly with the industry on behalf of Medicare and Medicaid, which are some of the world’s biggest purchasers of health-care products and services and cover tens of millions of Americans.
Trump also promised to increase international competition, slash regulations, and get new treatments to market faster at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) because he’s “always” been “disturbed” by terminally ill patients dying before a drug they needed is finally approved by the FDA. So Trump promises “We’re going to streamline FDA” and that “we have a fantastic person” who will be announced to lead the agency soon. He also promised to cut taxes on business and lure companies back to the U.S.
In return, the Big Pharma CEOs said they embraced Trump’s calls for lower taxes and fewer regulations. “Some of the policies you’ve come out and suggested I think can help us do more — tax, regulations,” said Lilly’s Ricks.
Here’s a video of the meeting:
Even before he was inaugurated President, Trump’s criticism of the drug-manufacturing industry earlier this month on Jan. 12 had sent drug and biotechnology stocks plunging. Since then, drugmakers have turned up their lobbying efforts with Congress as a potentially friendlier force to counter Trump.
Bloomberg reports the pharmaceutical industry is one of Washington’s most powerful lobbying groups, and each year spends hundreds of millions of dollars on lobbying, in addition to being one of the biggest donors to political campaigns, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Just a reminder: Hillary Clinton would never do this, telling Big Pharma drug costs are too high. See “WikiLeaks Podesta emails: Clinton Foundation works with Big Pharma to keep AIDS drug prices high”.
The definition of “populism” is “support for the concerns of ordinary people.” There’s a reason why on the Tuesday after he was inaugurated, President Trump hung a portrait of President Andrew Jackson in the Oval Office. America’s 7th president, Jackson is known for his populism and patriotism.
In an interview last November with The Hollywood Reporter, Steve Bannon, now White House Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor to President Trump, said this about Donald Trump:
“He gets it; he gets it intuitively. You have probably the greatest orator since William Jennings Bryan, coupled with an economic populist message and two political parties that are so owned by the donors that they don’t speak to their audience. But he speaks in a non-political vernacular, he communicates with these people in a very visceral way. Nobody in the Democratic party listened to his speeches, so they had no idea he was delivering such a compelling and powerful economic message. He shows up 3.5 hours late in Michigan at 1 in the morning and has 35,000 people waiting in the cold. When they got [Clinton] off the donor circuit she went to Temple University and they drew 300 or 400 kids.”