Tags: Trump Administration | drug | companies | costs | medications | christopher neiweem

Christopher Neiweem: Drug Companies Key to Lowering Medication Costs

Christopher Neiweem: Drug Companies Key to Lowering Medication Costs
(Brad Calkins/Dreamstime)

By    |   Thursday, 17 May 2018 02:59 PM

President Donald Trump recently gave an important speech in the White House Rose Garden, that addressed a long-term problem: helping Americans get relief from high drug prices.

This is an issue that unites all people, both Democrats and Republicans alike, because everyone is aware of the exorbitant price of prescription medications.

It also affects veterans like me and many others that rely on private sector medications to treat injuries and illness — some war related.

This was an impressive move for President Trump because lowering drug prices was one of his key campaign promises. And, whether or not you agree with the president, his commitment to keeping promises he made while on the campaign trail is something rarely seen in politics.

On the backdrop of the debate on high drug prices (as the healthcare debate is another broader issue with many perspectives on cost reduction) is the pharmaceutical drug supply chain and — and those working inside that supply chain — that ultimately possess the tools to get these costs down.

The key players in that supply chain are: drug companies, hospitals, pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) and insurance companies.

Policymakers, the president, and patients should be able to depend on these stakeholders to bring prices down — but together, they have failed. Americans pay more for their medications than anywhere else in the world and there are no signs that this unfortunate situation is going to improve unless something is done.

Unfortunately, reductions in drug prices are not going to happen on their own as drug companies don’t like to budge.

The generic rhetoric used by drug companies about how “innovation is key” and how much money they spend to develop the drugs, always omits the end effect the consumer feels and their massive profits.

Drug companies insist it’s other stakeholders in the supply chain such as PBMs and insurers, who need to take action to bring down costs. Certainly, PBMs and insurers have a role. But, it’s also those entities which negotiate lower prices for patients. 

Despite Obamacare, and other efforts to bring down drug prices in the last decade, drug prices keep going up. This is because drug companies have been dialing up lobbying efforts to keep drug prices high and their profits soaring. There isn’t anything wrong with wielding influence if you are maintaining quality and working to keep costs affordable.

However, punishing the consumer and pouring millions of corporate dollars into campaign contributions and advocacy work — just to keep drug prices high — is simply wrong.

The president was right in his speech: America must use private sector negotiation and free market competition to reduce prices. I agree, these are the best methods for bringing down drug costs for patients.

The president has made a living on negotiating deals, and he knows the American people should be getting a better deal from the drug companies.

Keep in mind, that one in five Americans skip doses or do not refill expensive prescriptions. This includes many veterans of war like myself who don’t utilize the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare due to geographic restrictions.

Lowering drug costs by going straight to the source — pharmaceutical companies — is what President Trump and the Congress should do.

Recently, the president has brought home some very big wins on taxes, reform of the VA, easing of tensions with North Korea, and now he has a chance to tackle an issue that is a problem for most families in America: high drug prices.

I hope the president is successful and holds drug companies accountable.

Christopher Neiweem is an Iraq War veteran, Chief Executive Officer of Neiweem Group, He also regularly provides guest commentary on Fox News Channel, commenting on politics, defense, foreign policy and veteran’s issues.

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The president has made a living on negotiating deals, and he knows the American people should be getting a better deal from the drug companies.
drug, companies, costs, medications, christopher neiweem
Thursday, 17 May 2018 02:59 PM
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