Trump Blames Drugmakers for Impeachment Inquiry

07.10.2019 -

US President Donald Trump has once again singled out the pharmaceutical industry for criticism. This time, his comments – which seem to have come out of the blue – have led to puzzlement in the sector.

After early in his term accusing drugmakers of “getting away with murder,“ by charging high prices, Trump now seems to see the industry as masterminding the impeachment inquiry launched by Democrats in the US House of Representatives.

Speaking at an event at The Villages in Florida – a haven for well-to-do retirees – Trump was quoted in a tweet published by the US daily newspaper Los Angeles Times as saying his administration's effort to lower drug costs “is not easy,” and he “wouldn't be surprised if it the impeachment hoax was from some of these industries that we take on, like pharma.”

When asked about Trump’s comments, the US trade group PhRMA described the accusation as “ridiculous.” 

Independently of whose fault it may be, the president’s attempt to bring US drug prices down has borne little fruit. It effectively stalled, observers say, with the abrupt resignation of FDA commissioner, Scott Gottlieb, in April.

Without disclosing a reason for his departure, Gottlieb – who had pledged to make price reductions a top-drawer issue – has since returned to the pharma industry. The former FDA chief now sits on the board of Pfizer and has accepted roles at conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute and the New Enterprise Associates venture capital firm, as well as taking a board seat at healthcare data startup Aetion.

The Trump administration has suffered several other setbacks in its price-cutting drive. Among other things, it had to drop plans to require drugmakers to disclose prices in direct-to-consumer advertising after a federal judge said the executive branch was usurping Congress’s authority.

Several Democratic presidential hopefuls have hinted at their own plans to bring down the high cost of drugs, which In the US are not consistently reimbursed by health insurers.