Oct. 25, 2018

Trump Blames Other Countries But Emulates Them With Medicare Pilot Plan

Statement of Peter Maybarduk, Director, Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines Program

Note: President Donald Trump is scheduled today to announce a pilot plan for how Medicare pays for prescription medications. He is expected to criticize countries that pay less than the U.S. for medicines even while he introduces a proposal to compare U.S. medication prices to those in other countries.

Oscar Wilde tells us that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness. And so it is with President Trump, who insults and blames countries that make medicines a little more affordable for their people, even as his administration announces a plan, in some ways, to copy their success.

The details of this plan count for everything. Yet, from initial reporting the plan may indeed represent positive steps. The goal of making medicine affordable for all may benefit from administration proposals to compare U.S. prices with those paid abroad, negotiating Medicare Part B medication prices and reducing physician incentives to administer more expensive treatments.

That said, Trump is riding backwards into the pharma melee. The far bolder plan we need to make medicines affordable would confront the power of Big Pharma corporations. The American people want their leaders to challenge pharma head-on. Instead, Trump yells from the back of his horse at allies who could help make medicine affordable for all.

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