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Mike Bloomberg: President Trump Has Failed to Tackle Skyrocketing Drug Prices; His Lies Put Millions of Americans at Risk

January 27, 2020

New digital ad contrasts Trump’s claims — “We’re gonna get drug prices so far lower than they are now, your head will spin” — with reality that drug prices jumped 10% in the first six months of 2019 alone

Bloomberg’s new proposal includes limiting each new drug to a single patent, stopping drug makers from slowing the introduction of more affordable generics

PORTLAND, MAINE— Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg sharply criticized President Trump on Monday for his failure to cap runaway prescription drug prices, announced his plan to reduce costs, and released a new digital ad calling out President Trump for his repeated lies. Trump has made at least 170 statements about the cost of drugs, including nearly 80 instances where he either promised to lower drug prices or claimed he already had. In the first seven months of 2018, there were nearly 100 price hikes for every price cut, and 3,400 drugs increased their prices at a rate five times higher than inflation during the first six months of 2019.

Mike will make his comments at an event in Portland, Maine, where soaring drug prices have become a central issue. Today, the high cost of prescription drugs has forced one in four Mainers to not take them. Mike’s healthcare plan to deliver better, affordable health care for all Americans, calls for eliminating the drug-company payments to pharmacy benefit managers, reforming the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit to encourage greater competition, and capping beneficiaries’ annual out-of-pocket costs at $2,000. Mike will lower drug costs by authorizing Medicare to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies. New details of Mike’s plan were announced today and include limiting each new drug to a single patent lasting 20 years and working with Congress to stop brand-name drug makers from slowing the introduction of generics. His plan also stipulates that when federal research agencies sell intellectual property to drug developers, the federal government will be required to retain some share of profits if companies develop successful drugs. This funding could be used to lower drug prices in Part D or fund additional research.

“The rising costs of prescription drugs has forced too many families to choose between being healthy and going into debt,” said Mike Bloomberg. “President Trump promised to solve this problem — but instead, he’s done the bidding of the drug companies and their lobbyists. It’s another promise he’s broken that’s hurting Americans. As president, I will take on the pharmaceutical industry and lower the cost of prescription drugs, so Americans can get the medicine they need at affordable costs.”

Drug prices continue to be a top concern for families across the country.

There is a mountain of evidence to highlight Trump’s failures on this issue:

  • Just 11 days into his Presidency, Trump abandoned his promise to let Medicare negotiate lower drug prices “after a meeting with pharmaceutical industry lobbyists and executives.”
  • Trump’s plan to reduce drug prices did not include calling for Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices.
  • Trump threatened to veto a bill that would have allowed Medicare to negotiate bulk discounts on prescription drug prices.

The reasons behind Trump’s unwillingness to act on drug prices are clear. Trump has put special interests first by filling his administration with Pharma executives and lobbyists. Trump’s Secretary for Health and Human Services (HHS), Alex Azar, is a former pharmaceutical executive and lobbyist who worked at a company that repeatedly raised the prices of its drugs. The pharmaceutical industry’s lobbying group spent nearly $28 million on lobbying activities in a single year alone.

Drug companies have saved billions of dollars on Trump’s watch. In 2018, four major pharmaceutical companies saved $7 billion dollars as a result of Trump’s tax bill. Pharmaceutical companies like Eli Lilly — the nation’s largest insulin producer — continue to reap billions of dollars in revenue.


“Mike Bloomberg knows patients shouldn’t have to choose between paying for their medication or buying groceries and other necessities,” said Al Aviles, Former president of the Health and Hospitals Corporation. “I worked with Mike for many years when he was New York City’s mayor. He is a compassionate and pragmatic problem solver with a deep commitment to healthcare equity. As president, he will reduce the drug cost burden on all Americans by reducing prescription pricing while also capping out-of-pocket costs for seniors on Medicare. Mike’s plan will ensure American families are able to afford the quality healthcare they need. “

“The same drugs shouldn’t cost five to ten times more in the United States than they do in other countries, as some do now,” said Dr. Michael Stocker, Former chairman of the board of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation and former CEO of Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield. “As a successful entrepreneur, Mike Bloomberg knows negotiation is the best way to drive down drug prices. He will change the law so that the Medicare program can negotiate better prices directly with pharmaceutical companies. Along with the other common-sense measures in Mike’s plan, this will reduce costs and help patients across the country.”

“I believe firmly that drug companies are taking advantage of Americans when it comes to drug prices in this country,” said Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy. “They aren’t affordable for the people who need them and they’re grossly out of line with prices for the same drugs in other countries. And it’s costing cities like mine, a pretty penny when it comes to the amount we pay to cover healthcare for our employees. It’s high time we opened the pharmaceutical industry to the same kind of competition that keeps other industries in check and allows consumers to put downward pressure on prices.”

“Rising drug prices have benefited pharmaceutical companies, but they are putting a major strain on patients across the country and on our health care system,” said Aaron S. Kesselheim, M.D., J.D., M.P.H., Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. “Mike Bloomberg has outlined practical, realistic steps to cut costs and increase competition in the prescription drug market. His proposals will speed up the process of getting generics on the market while maintaining adequate incentives for private investment. Notably, he will make sure the government receives an appropriate share in the profits when companies develop successful drugs based on research funded by federal agencies. These profits could be used to lower drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries or fund additional research. This will enhance, not reduce, innovation. Mike’s plan will lead to real savings for the American people and our government.”

“Throughout my career in public service, I’ve talked with too many patients who have struggled to pay for basic health services, including prescription drugs,” said Claire Shulman, former Queens Borough President and New York-Presbyterian Queens board member. “That’s not right, and now being in my 90s it’s an issue that especially hits home for me. I know Mike Bloomberg shares my concern and will solve this problem. He’s been leading efforts to promote public health here in New York City and around the world since his time in City Hall. Mike’s plan to lower drug prices will help millions of Americans afford the medication they need to stay healthy.”

“People with disabilities often need prescription medication to manage chronic conditions and help them live their lives to the fullest,” said Dan Heumann, Patient Advocate. “I’ve been advocating for patients for many years, and one of the biggest concerns I hear is that these drugs are getting way too expensive. We live in the wealthiest country in the history of the world. No American should have to worry about paying for their medication. And no-one should have to choose which bills to pay in order to afford the prescriptions their doctor has deemed necessary.” Mike Bloomberg’s plan will lower prescription drug prices by authorizing Medicare to negotiate with drug companies and capping Medicare beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket spending on drugs at $2,000 annually. These reforms will save patients money and reduce their stress over health bills. I’m grateful for Mike’s leadership on this issue that’s so important to the disabled community and patients across the country.”

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