Trump Lies About Drug Prices Going Down

Trump Lies About Drug Prices Going Down July 9, 2019

Trump is telling a new lie, this time about drug prices. After promising during the campaign that he would lower the price of prescription drugs and doing nothing, he is now just claiming that drug prices have gone down for the first time in half a century. It is, predictably, an entirely false claim that his followers will still believe.

“Drug prices are coming down, first time in 51 years because of my administration, but we can get them down way lower working with the Democrats,” Trump said in a May 22 address in the Rose Garden. Trump called a news conference to push back against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s comments accusing Trump of a cover-up related to congressional probes of his administration…

However, the most recent data from the federal government shows a slight uptick: prescription drug prices increased by 0.3% in April 2019 compared to April 2018.

It is possible to define time periods in such a way to make the statement — or something close to it — accurate with respect to the prescription drug CPI, said Matthew Fiedler, a health economist at the Brookings Institution. But the CPI is a highly imperfect measure for tracking prescription drug price trends, because it measures list prices rather than net prices.

“For most purposes, net prices are the most economically relevant quantity,” he said. “And it’s unclear how much credit the administration really deserves for these trends.”

The CPI data doesn’t account for whether manufacturers lowering their list prices have also changed the size of the rebates they provide. Also, this data also doesn’t cover all prescriptions — it only covers drugs sold through retail, or about three-fourths of all prescriptions, and excludes many high-priced specialty meds sold only via mail order…

This year, the list price of more than 3,000 drugs went up, while the price of only 117 went down, according to data compiled by Rx Savings Solutions. Last year, an analysis by the Associated Press revealed that, from January to July, 4,412 branded drug prices went up, while 46 were cut.

PolitiFact rates this claim as mostly false. I rate it as just another lie, one that fits a pattern. Time and time again we’ve seen Trump promise something, do nothing to make it happen and just declare that he has fulfilled his promise anyway. He knows his followers don’t really care whether it’s true or not. That’s not why they support him. They support him because he hates the same people they do and gives them permission to do so openly.

Browse Our Archives