In May, President Trump stood before the American people, ostensibly to make good on a campaign promise that he would dramatically improve the lot of average, ordinary people by actively working to curb runaway prescription drug prices. The president, who has verbally eviscerated the pharmaceutical industry with great dramatic flair - once claiming that they were “getting away with murder” - announced what he contended was a sweeping plan to rein in the cost of prescription medicines.
In actuality, however, his proposal is more placebo than actual cure.
As with other politicians before him, Trump is aware that the pharmaceutical industry enjoys roughly the same level of popular support as Congress. This makes it an ideal target for righteous bluster, especially as so many drug companies have profited mightily, even as everyday citizens have become addicted to some of their products and find it increasingly difficult to absorb the rising costs of prescription medicines.
With the same level of modesty that has typified his time as president, Trump declared his plan the “most sweeping action in history to lower the price of prescription drugs for the American people.” In terms of substance, however, it falls more than a little short of such lofty praise.
The American pharmaceutical system stands in sharp contrast to much of the rest of the developed world. In many industrialized nations, governments regulate the costs of most prescription medicines.
Trump indirectly alluded to this fact in his speech. However, rather than praising other governments he instead condemned these same nations for extorting lower medication prices from American drug manufacturers.
The pharmaceutical industry undoubtedly breathed a collective and considerable sigh of relief after Trump’s self-proclaimed grand pronouncement. All that remains to be seen now is whether the American people realize that instead of being offered a prescription for change, all they have truly received is a placebo; a simple sugar pill that ultimately offers nothing.
The Cape Cod Times