Big Pharma Spikes Drug Prices Yet Again on Azar/Trump’s Watch

List prices for more than 40 prescription drugs are being raised by an average of 13.1%

WASHINGTON, D.C.The Wall Street Journal is reporting that 20 drug makers have hiked the prices of prescription drugs yet again, exposing President Trump and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar’s failure to bring down drug costs for Americans. The news is not surprising given the Trump administration’s revolving door with pharmaceutical companies.

“It’s no surprise that drug prices continue to skyrocket on the Trump administration’s watch,” said Lizzy Price, Acting Director for Restore Public Trust. “Trump and Secretary Azar have talked a big game about lowering drug prices, but they simply haven’t delivered. Trump’s pharma hires into key positions are one reason why.”

“Ties between the drug industry and the administration pose a clear conflict of interest,” continued Price. “The American people deserve to know who government employees are looking out for – American families or their buddies in the pharmaceutical industry?”

According to the article, 20 companies increased the list prices of over 40 prescription drugs by an average of 13.1%. This is a jump from the 16 companies who raised prices this time in 2018 at an average rate of 7.8%.

B. Braun Medical Inc. stands out for raising the cost of more than a dozen drugs, many of which are used by hospitals. B. Braun increased the price of antibiotic cefazolin, a drug that has been around for decades and now is in short supply, by 50% to more than $9 a package.

Last month, Restore Public Trust launched the website,, exposing sixteen Trump administration officials who have made almost $6 million from the pharmaceutical industry while everyday Americans struggle to find the money for lifesaving drugs they need. Among them are HHS Secretary Alex Azar who was a top executive at Eli Lilly when the company increased the price of Humalog, a top-selling insulin drug, by 345%.

Acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless, who co-founded G1 Therapeutics, is also featured. Sharpless has at least $6 million in assets in G1 Therapeutics, and the company’s stock soared after their drug was fast-tracked by the FDA just weeks after Sharpless was named to the position.

As the website shows, in 2019 alone there were at least:

  • 19 pharmaceutical companies and lobbying groups represented in the Trump Administration;

  • Five high-ranking Trump administration employees who were former pharmaceutical company lobbyists;

  • Four Trump administration employees who previously provided legal services to pharmaceutical and healthcare companies; and

  • One Trump administration official who left the administration to go work at a pharmaceutical company.

Attorneys General in several states are reportedly investigating insulin drug pricing by Eli Lilly, including charges of price fixing that would have occurred during Azar’s tenure. Eli Lilly is also named as a defendant in a class action lawsuit alleging price-fixing during Azar’s tenure at the company.

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