Cummings Issues Statement on President Signing Bills Banning Pharmacist “Gag Orders”
Washington, D.C. (Oct. 10, 2018)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, issued the following statement in response to press reports that President Donald Trump will sign two bills lifting gag order clauses mandating that a pharmacist may not inform patients of cheaper equivalent prescription drugs::
“I supported these bipartisan bills because the American people deserve to know when there are cheaper options for prescription drugs they desperately need, but they will not actually lower drug prices. President Trump repeatedly promised during the campaign to let the government negotiate directly with drug companies to lower prices, but he completely abandoned that promise once he got into office. Until President Trump fulfills his promise, the American people will continue to be at the mercy of the pharmaceutical industry.”
As a candidate in January 2016, President Trump said the government could save hundreds of billions of dollars every year if Medicare negotiated directly with drug manufacturers. He said: “We don’t do it. Why? Because of the drug companies.” In January 2017, he stated that the pharmaceutical industry is “getting away with murder.” He also said that “Pharma has a lot of lobbies and a lot of lobbyists and a lot of power, and there’s very little bidding on drugs.”
In May, Cummings released a staff report entitled, Skyrocketing Drug Prices: Year One of the Trump Administration, documenting huge price increases during Donald Trump’s first year as President. The report found that between December 31, 2016, to March 1, 2018, prices increased for (1) the best-selling drugs in America, (2) drugs that cost most for Medicare, and (3) the top-selling drugs for the biggest U.S. drug companies.
A recent investigation by the Associated Press found that, under the Trump Administration, it’s been “business as usual for drugmakers, with far more price hikes than cuts.” They also found that “over the first seven months of the year, there were 96 price hikes for every price cut.”