Trump blasts drugmakers, middlemen for high U.S. drug prices
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday blasted drugmakers and healthcare “middlemen” for making prescription drugs unaffordable for Americans, but healthcare stocks rose as it became clear the administration had avoided taking aggressive and direct measures to cut drug prices.
Trump said his administration would take aim at the “middlemen” in the drug industry who became “very very rich,” an apparent reference to health insurers and pharmacy benefit managers. He also said the pharmaceutical industry is making an “absolute fortune” at the expense of American taxpayers.
Foreign governments “extort” unreasonably low prices from U.S. drugmakers, Trump also said in a speech delivered as his health deputies released a series of proposals to address high drug costs.
But Zeke Emanuel, an expert on drug pricing and fellow at the Center for American Progress, said on CNN that to bring drug prices down, Trump would need to address drugmakers more directly.
“His rhetoric is taking them on, but the facts are he is not taking them on,” Emanuel said.
Healthcare shares dipped on Trump’s comments but quickly recovered as details of Trump’s blueprint on drug pricing circulated and the S&P 500 Health index .SPXHC rose 1.1 percent.
Reporting by Yasmeen Abutaleb in Washington, additional reporting by Caroline Humer and Michael Erman in New York; editing by Bill Berkrot