HHS and White House Infighting on Drug Pricing Leave Patients the Ultimate Loser

Trump Administration Continues to Fail on Drug Pricing as 2020 Looms

WASHINGTON — President Trump and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar are still failing to deliver on lowering the cost of prescription drugs. Two and a half years after taking office, conflicts of interest between huge drug companies and the Trump administration are resulting in a failure of action to cut prescription drug costs for the scores of Americans struggling to afford their medicines. 

“More than halfway through his term, President Trump has failed to deliver on his promise to lower drug prices,” said Lizzy Price, spokesperson for Restore Public Trust. “But given that his HHS Secretary is a former executive for big pharma, we’re not surprised. The Trump administration has been a revolving door for the pharmaceutical industry – at the expense of Americans who depend on their prescriptions to survive. Trump and Azar have failed Americans in failing to fulfill their empty promises to lower prescription drugs and they must be held accountable”

As Americans pay more and more attention to the 2020 election, drug pricing is expected to be top-of-mind given this administration’s continued failure to deliver on their campaign promise. Here are just a few recent headlines: 

    • On Prescription Drug Prices, Will Trump Turn Words Into Action? [Forbes, 7/15/19]
    • Advocates frustrated over pace of drug price reform [The Hill, 7/15/19]
    • Trump took 3 big losses on healthcare this week, and the losing streak probably isn’t going to end anytime soon [Business Insider, 7/13/19]
    • The Health 202: Trump wants credit for lowering health costs. Banning drug rebates was an obstacle. [Washington Post, 7/12/19]
    • Alex Azar’s No Good, Very Tough Week. [POLITICO – Pulse Newsletter, 7/12/19]
    • Azar Killed His Drug Rebate Proposal After He Pushed Trump For Months To Sign Off On It.  [POLITICO – Pulse Newsletter, 7/12/19]
    • Mulvaney, Grogan, And Vought Were Responsible For Swaying Trump To Block Against The Rebate Proposal. [POLITICO – Pulse Newsletter, 7/12/19]
    • Azar Commented On The Decision To Scrap The Project, Said Trump Was Concerned About Increasing Senior’ Premiums. [POLITICO – Pulse Newsletter, 7/12/19]
    • Azar’s Drug Pricing Priorities Kept Losing In The White House And The Courts. [POLITICO – Pulse Newsletter, 7/12/19]
    • Trump Administration Claimed Its Leadership Caused The Drop In Prescription Drug Prices As It Withdrew From The Proposed Rebate Rule. [PBS, 7/12/19]
    • The White House’s about-face on drug rebates is a loss for public health [Stat, 7/11/19]
    • Trump’s Efforts to Rein In Drug Prices Face Setbacks [New York Times, 7/11/19]



Last month, Restore Public Trust launched the website, BigPharmasBestFriends.org, 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%.

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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