Washington, DC — Anyone covering President Trump’s prescription drug press conference today should remind readers and viewers that not only has Trump not made any progress on this front, but he’s stuffed his Administration full of drug company lobbyists, executives, and allies who have worked every day to block any meaningful action to bring down drug costs for patients and their families.

Below is some background that could be helpful as you cover this latest attempt by Trump to distract patients and families from the reality they can see every time their prescription drug prices have gone up over the past three years. 

President Trump has been talking about drug prices for years:

  • 2020 SOTU: “I was pleased to announce last year that, for the first time in 51 years, the cost of prescription drugs actually went down.”
  • 2019 SOTU: “It’s unacceptable that Americans pay vastly more than people in other countries for the exact same drugs, often made in the exact same place. This is wrong, this is unfair, and together we will stop it — and we’ll stop it fast.”
  • March 2018: “You’ll be seeing drug prices falling very substantially in the not-too-distant future, and it’s going to be beautiful.”
  • 2018 SOTU: “One of my greatest priorities is to reduce the price of prescription drugs…I I have directed my administration to make fixing the injustice of high drug prices one of our top priorities for the year. And prices will come down substantially—watch.”
  • 2017 Joint Address to Congress: “[I will] work to bring down the artificially high price of drugs, and bring them down immediately.”


Drug prices continue to soar…

  • Politico: “Drug prices steadily rise amid pandemic, data shows.”
  • Politifact: “Donald Trump wrong again about prescription drug prices.”
  • HealthDay: “U.S. Drug Prices Have Risen Three Times Faster Than Inflation.”
  • CBS News: “2020 is three days old and drug prices are already jumping.”
  • The Hill: “Survey: About 1 in 10 US adults rationing medicine in effort to lower costs.”

… as drug companies rake in record profits…

  • West Health Policy Center: “New Analysis Finds Large Drugmakers Could Lose $1 Trillion in Sales and Still Be the Most Profitable Industry.”
  • Axios: “Health care CEO pay outstrips infectious disease research.”
  •  Newsweek: “Big Pharma Companies Earn More Profits Than Most Other Industries, Study Suggests.”
  • FiercePharma: “How the 8 biggest U.S. pharmas enriched their shareholders in 2019.”
  • Axios: “Big Pharma is on a stock buyback spree.”

…and industry executives fill the top levels of the administration.

  • Reuters: “Trump chooses Gottlieb to run FDA; Pharma breathes sigh of relief.”
  • Politico: “Trump picks ex-pharma executive Azar to lead HHS.”
  • Politico: “Former drug industry lobbyist helps steer Trump drug plan.”
  • Politico: “Trump’s HHS secretary nominee boosted drug prices while at Eli Lilly.”


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