For as long as most of us can remember, we have paid substantially higher prices for prescription drugs than the citizens of other countries. In Congress there have been endless speeches about the skyrocketing cost of medicine for American patients, especially senior citizens. And every election cycle there are campaign promises from both the Republicans and the Democrats who talk and talk, but they’ve never done anything about it.
Until now that is. President Donald Trump continues his revolutionary idea of actually trying to fulfill his promises.
On the morning of July 31, 2019, the Trump Administration announced a new plan to effectively address this long-festering situation. This brilliant plan allows companies to import drugs that are sold in other countries. This will save Americans money. Under the newly announced Trump plan, manufacturers can now bring the lower-cost versions of the drugs they sell abroad home to the United States. Of course, these drugs must still be verified by the FDA as meeting our safety standards and be identical to what is currently available.
Here’s the sad state of affairs that our leaders have for so long forced us to labor under. Foreign countries buy their drugs at substantially lower prices. This means that American patients subsidize the cost of drug research and development for the rest of the world. And that costs us vast sums of money each year, both personally and nationally. Often prescriptions costing hundreds of dollars in the U.S will cost just a few dollars overseas. As in so many of the deals with the give-away-the-store mentality negotiators have maintained for so many years, American citizens get the worst deal.
This broken and unjust system not only hurts patient’s pockets, it costs taxpayers billions. Here’s one example: a medication that helps prevent blindness that annually costs Medicare more than one billion dollars would cost 187 million dollars if instead we paid the same prices other countries pay.
Big Pharma has been against any change because they’re more than happy for the American citizens to be their ATM, financing their research and development while others reaped the benefits. However, as Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said, “Access to affordable prescription drugs can be a matter of life or death for American patients. The President has heard how much this matters to Americans, and we at HHS have heard the same. We all know how unfair it is that other countries are paying lower prices for the same drugs, and we’re taking action.”
The July announcement moves toward fulfilling President Trump’s promise to make medicine affordable for all Americans. After last year’s release of the President’s blueprint to lower prescription drug costs for the first time in forty-six years, drug prices dropped, according to the government’s inflation index as of December 2018.
Referring to the unfair two-tier drug prices Americans have labored under for so long, President Trump said, “It’s time to end the global freeloading once and for all.”
Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, Global Studies, and Religion. He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2019 Contact Dr. Owens firstname.lastname@example.org Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens or visit Dr. Owens Amazon Page / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens