Trump Abandons Business Principle of Bulk Buying to Benefit Drug Companies

One obvious way to save tax dollars is to use Federal and state government to buy products in bulk.

I did that, for instance, is the purchase of natural gas for all state facilities in the late 1980’s, saving $1 million as year.

(And I designed the bid specs so that Governor Jim Thompson’s favorite supplier did not win.)

When Obamacare was passed without a Republican vote, I was astounded that the bulk purchase of pharmaceuticals was not included in the bill.

That led me to conclude the not only Republicans, but also Democrats had fallen victim to campaign contributions from drug companies.

It goes back to 2003, as Bloomberg columnist Joe Nocera said in the Chicago Tribune:

In 2003, when Congress passed the massive Part D Medicare prescription-drug benefit, Big Pharma was able to get a provision in the bill banning the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services from negotiating directly with drug companies to set prices, as advanced countries tend to do.

At first the Dems talked a good game, but when the final bill was read after it was passed, people found bulk purchasing missing in action.

Instead, insurance companies would negotiate with drug producers.

Still no push back allowed from the Federal government.

During the campaign,

Nocera also reports of the early 2017 meeting with drug company CEOs, right after Trump was sworn in.

“When they opened again, Trump had not only abandoned his promise to use the government’s bargaining power to bring down drug prices, he was now totally against it!”

Think Progress reports the campaign promises:

“If we have to bid out pharmaceuticals, we’re bidding them out. We’re going to save billions and billions and billions of dollars,” then-candidate Trump told Fox News’ Sean Hannity in February 2016. The same month, he told MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough that, “If we negotiated the price of drugs, Joe, we’d save $300 billion a year.” At a March 2016 debate in Michigan, Trump said “I’m not only talking about drugs, I’m talking about other things. We’ll save more than $300 billion a year if we properly negotiate. We don’t do that, we don’t negotiate. We don’t negotiate anything.”

Instead of a rational business approach to purchasing, Trump has decided to use competition and and transparency.

Drugmakers will be required to advertise the cost of their medicines in TV ads and druggists will be allowed to tell customers about cheaper drugs.

Approval of over-the-counter medications will also speeded up.

But no big announcement about the bulk buying proposal made in the campaign.

Headline from online edition of Chicago Tribune, May 11, 2018.

Sounds like a broken promise to me.


Trump Abandons Business Principle of Bulk Buying to Benefit Drug Companies — 14 Comments

  1. 60 Minutes did a piece last week on how Rockford was suing a pharmaceutical company because it paid $500k for a single childrens drug, while a comparative drug could have been had for $33 in Canada.

  2. Just like Trump said he was going to get rid of the carried interest loophole. Or not cut Medicaid and Medicare. Or Social Security. And Mexico is going to pay for the wall. Or appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary. Or a ban on foreign lobbyists raising money for American elections (LOL – that’s worked out well).

    Should I keep going?

  3. Our sexual-assaulter-in-chief tronald dump also said government will pay for healthcare. Tic, tock, tic, tock, tic, tock, meow, meow, meeeeeoooooowwwwwww…


    Prescription drugs bought from Canadian by individuals for personal use in quantity of 3 month supply:

    1. Illegal by federal law

    2. Law not being enforced against individuals

    3. Enormous cost Savings

    4. Fda Safety sudy of imported drugs revealed zero instances of tainted samples

    5. Fda maintains that imported pharmaceuticals pose a health risk to public, despite zero peer reviewed evidence to support that assertion.

  5. Yes, alabamashake, please keep going…Let’s see how many pages you can fill…

  6. (And I designed the bid specs so that Governor Jim Thompson’s favorite supplier did not win.)

    Illegal bid rigging by Cal?

  7. Nope. Just guaranteed open access to the contract, which was approved by the Department of Central Management Services attorney.

  8. ….and the 60 M that voted for Trump are all racists. Blah blah blah….

  9. If individual citizens want to have an impact, they must choose to de-centralize their own actions, which includes buying prescription drugs outside of US.

    When a critical mass of buyers affects market demand by Medicare/Medicaid, a showdown will be forced.

    Inaction results in destruction of sick/elderly/middle-class-impoverished (those who work–outside government employ)– and so do not qualify for all free government services).

    Is it individual American citizens’ responsibility to risk anything of their own in order to protect the weak/vulnerable/sick?

    No, but then those same citizens might want to check their self-righteous, uneducated, useful-idiot demands about ‘Obamacare for All’.

  10. And pharmakeia in the Bible is often translated as witchcraft or sorcery. Drugs have no business in your life. For reference go to Galatians 5:19 and start reading there. Then heed the warnings of Revelation 21:8.

  11. For the record, I wasn’t pushing to import drugs from Canada. It was more to show how grotesquely disproportionate the drug pricing is.

    If you can sell in Canada for $33, the cost to make the medicine is considerably lower.

    While there is R&D to consider, the drug in this 60 Minutes case had been in the market for decades. The company charged insanely more because it could.

    And this is just one example.

    If you want an extreme case look up Valeant.

  12. If the bid would of been less defined to try and exclude bidders. maybe Big Jim’s pal would have been low bid instead.

    Speaking of low bids, Gasser didn’t take State bid on the trucks he purchased either.

    Quality has it’s advantages.

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