Lowering drug costs

President Donald Trump, in his State of the Union speech, promised that lowering drug prices would be a top priority for his administration. “Prices will come down substantially,” he said. “Watch.”

He didn’t say how he would do that, but this past week the White House Council on Economic Advisors issued a strategy report. While the proposed strategies are helpful, there are still some major steps that could be taken.

If the president really wants a strategy for lowering drug prices, he should look at the steps that Big Pharma spends millions of lobbying dollars to prevent. First, the government should allow Medicare to negotiate prices for the drugs it pays for. Right now that is forbidden by federal law, and Big Pharma is spending heavily to keep that law in place.

Second, the government should allow consumers to purchase safe drugs from other countries, like Canada, where prescription drug prices are a fraction of what they are here.

It makes a difference here in New Ulm and the area, where population trends show the average age is increasing. Older people tend to need more prescription drugs, and for many, the cost of buying pills is becoming a bigger burden.

If the Trump administration wants to lower drug prices in the U.S., it has to do more than say “Pretty please?” to the big pharmaceutical companies.