During his first press conference after winning the election, President Donald Trump made some very bold statements that, generally speaking, are uncharacteristic of the Republican Party. Rather than kowtow to pharmaceutical interests as would be expected from an establishment politician on either side of the aisle, Mr. Trump actually called drug companies to task for ripping off Americans, adding that the entire industry is “getting away with murder” as it currently functions.
These piercing words from the president sent shock waves throughout the drug industry, which saw massive drops in stock value almost immediately after they were stated. Clearly frustrated with the corruption between pharmaceutical companies and the federal government that keeps drug prices high, President Trump reiterated what he’s been saying all along the campaign trail about the need for reform — a message that was also heralded by failed Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
“Pharma has a lot of lobbies, a lot of lobbyists, a lot of power. And there’s very little bidding on drugs,” President Trump remarked from Trump Tower in New York City. “We’re the largest buyer of drugs in the world, and yet we don’t bid properly. We’re going to start bidding. We’re going to save billions of dollars over a period of time.”
President Trump also criticized the drug industry for manufacturing drugs in other countries where they’re cheaper to produce, only to ship them back to the U.S. to sell to Americans at top dollar. This hallmark of crony globalism, a major target in the president’s platform all throughout his campaign, is something that’s most definitely on the chopping block with the incoming administration.
“Our drug industry has been disastrous,” President Trump explained before the press pool. “They’re leaving left and right. They supply our drugs but they don’t make them here, to a large extent. And the other thing we have to do is create new bidding procedures for the drug industry, because they’re getting away with murder.” (RELATED: Stay informed about Big Pharma’s illegal practices at BigPharmaNews.com)
Going against an old-guard Republican establishment that has long favored not only Big Pharma but a host of other special interest groups, including biotechnology and chemicals, won’t be an easy task. Top Republican kingpins like House Speaker Paul Ryan, for instance, are already challenging President Trump’s remarks, tacitly implying that the system is working just fine and doesn’t need to be changed.
In an interview with Mike Allen of Axios, Ryan emphasized that he wants to “have more conversations” about the issue to presumably redirect President Trump’s agenda. He carefully sidestepped the gaping problems stemming from Big Pharma’s monopolistic control over medicine, instead offering up rhetoric in favor of maintaining the status quo. When asked about the president’s comments that drug companies are “politically protected, but not anymore,” Ryan remarked: “I don’t speak like that, generally speaking. I’m always looking for win-win situations, and I believe there’s a lot more we can do to bring down the price of drugs.”
In other words, Paul Ryan isn’t the type of guy to take a stand against anything or anyone who pays his salary — in this case, big money interests like Monsanto and Merck. It’s the Republican way, perhaps, but not President Trump’s way, which begs the question: will the president be able to effectively overcome this deep-seated gravy train funding Republicans-in-name-only (RINOs) like Paul Ryan? (RELATED: See news about how everything is rigged at Rigged.news)
Considering the fact that so-called “conservative” groups often work in lockstep with “liberal” groups to advance the same agenda — in this case, pushing the special interest agendas of their mutual donors — accomplishing this feat could be the biggest challenge of Mr. Trump’s life.
One such group, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), was exposed late last year for helping a billionaire donor for the Hillary Clinton campaign secure — wait for it — Republican support for failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Besides the seemingly contradictory nature of such a union, the AEI, as revealed by GMWatch, is closely aligned with biotechnology giant Monsanto.
No matter how you look at all this, President Trump definitely has his work cut out for him. While the drug industry is known to make large financial contributions to candidates from both political parties, historically the industry has been more focused on funding RINO Republicans, with the exception of Democrat Hillary Clinton who received, by far, the most financial support from Big Pharma during the 2016 presidential election season.
“Industry PACs have given at least $4.4 million to Republicans and $2.6 million to Democrats in House Races across the primary and general elections,” news organization STAT reported back in November. “In the most competitive House contests — those rated as toss-ups or only leaning toward either party by the Cook Political Report — pharmaceutical PACs have given more than $435,000 to Republicans, a separate STAT analysis found. By comparison, the committees have given less than $70,000 to Democrats in those races.”
Sources for this article include: