Donald Trump has suggested his administration will take action against high prescription drug prices, saying drugmakers “are getting away with murder”.
During a press conference at the White House, Mr Trump reiterated his desire to get the cost of prescription drugs “way down”, claiming that “the world is taking advantage of us.”
The President said other countries, unlike the US, set drug prices and pay less than half of what Americans pay for the same treatments.
“And we want to bring our prices down to what other countries are paying, or at least close, and let the other countries pay more,” Mr Trump said.
Americans pay anywhere from two to six times more than the rest of the world for brand-name prescription drugs, according to the International Federation of Health Plans.
Researchers have said that a large reason for this is because of the way the US health system is set up. Countries with national health programmes have government entities that negotiate drug prices.
This is not the case in the US. Medicare – a government insurance programme which provides coverage to about 44 million seniors – is unable to negotiate prices with drugmakers.
Donald Trump’s least presidential moments so far…
Defending Russian President Vladimir Putin
Donald Trump appeared to equate US foreign actions to those of Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying, “There are a lot of killers. You think our country’s so innocent?”
Asked for people to ‘pray’ for Arnold Schwarzenegger
At the National Prayer Breakfast, Donald Trump couldn’t help but to ask for prayers for the ratings on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s show to be good. Schwarzenegger took over as host of “The Apprentice” — which buoyed Mr Trump’s celebrity status years ago.
Hanging up on Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull
Early in his presidency, Donald Trump reportedly hung up the phone on Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull after the foreign leader angered him over refugee plans. Mr Trump later said that it was the “worst call” he had had so far.
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images
The ‘muslim ban’
Perhaps one of his most controversial policies while acting as president, Donald Trump’s travel ban targeting predominantly Muslim countries has bought him a lot of criticism. The bans were immediately protested, and judges initially blocked their implementation. The Supreme Court later sided with the administration’s argument that the ban was developed out of concern for US security.
Bryan R Smith/Getty
Praising crowd size while touring Hurricane Harvey damage
After Hurricane Harvey ravaged southeastern Texas, Donald Trump paid the area a visit. While his response to the disaster in Houston was generally applauded, the President picked up some flack when he gave a speech outside Houston (he reportedly did not visit disaster zones), and praised the size of the crowds there.
Called North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ‘Little Rocket Man’
During his first-ever speech to the United Nations General Assembly, Donald Trump tried out a new nickname for North Korea leader Kim Jong-un: Rocket Man. He later tweaked it to be “little Rocket Man” as the two feuded, and threatened each other with nuclear war. During that speech, he also threatened to totally annihilate North Korea.
Attacking Sadiq Khan following London Bridge terror attack
After the attack on the London Bridge, Donald Trump lashed out at London Mayor Sadiq Khan, criticizing Mr Khan for saying there was “no reason to be alarmed” after the attack. Mr Trump was taking the comments out of context, as Mr Khan was simply saying that the police had everything under control.
Claimed presenter Mika Brezinkski was ‘bleeding from the face’
Never one not to mock his enemies, Donald Trump mocked MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski, saying that she and co-host Joe Scarborough had approached him before his inauguration asking to “join” him. He noted that she was “bleeding badly from a face-lift” at the time, and that he said no.
Claiming the blame for Charlottesville was on ‘both sides’
Trump refused to condemn far-right extremists involved in violence at ‘the march for the right’ protests in Charlottesville, even after the murder of counter protester Heather Heyer
AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais
Retweeted cartoon of CNN being hit by a ‘Trump train’
Donald Trump retweeted a cartoon showing a Trump-branded train running over a person whose body and head were replaced by a CNN avatar. He later deleted the retweet.
Tweeting about ‘slamming’ CNN
Donald Trump caught some flack when he tweeted a video showing him wrestling down an individual whose head had been replaced by a CNN avatar. Mr Trump has singled CNN out in particular with his chants of “fake news”.
Firing head of the FBI, James Comey
Donald Trump’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey landed him with a federal investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election that has caused many a headache for the White House. The White House initially said that the decision was made after consultation from the Justice Department. Then Mr Trump himself said that he had decided to fire him in part because he wanted the Russia investigation Mr Comey was conducting to stop.
Not realizing being president would be ‘hard’
Just three months into his presidency, Donald Trump admitted that being president is harder than he thought it would be. Though Mr Trump insisted on the 2016 campaign trail that doing the job would be easy for him, he admitted in an interview that living in the White House is harder than running a business empire.
Accusing Obama of wiretapping him
Donald Trump accused former President Barack Obama of wire tapping him on twitter. The Justice Department later clarified: Mr Obama had not, in fact, done so.
Claiming there had been 3 million ‘illegal votes’
Donald Trump was never very happy about losing the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by 2.8 million ballots. So, he and White House voter-fraud commissioner Kris Kobach have claimed that anywhere between three and five million people voted illegally during the 2016 election. Conveniently, he says that all of those illegal votes went to Ms Clinton. (There is no evidence to support that level of widespread voter fraud.)
Leaving Jews out of the Holocaust memorial statement
Just days after taking office, Donald Trump’s White House issued a statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, but didn’t mention “jews” or even the word “jewish” in the written statement.
Anger over Inauguration crowd size
Donald Trump’s inauguration crowd was visibly, and noticeably, smaller than that of his predecessor, Barack Obama. But, he really wanted to have had the largest crowd on record. So, he praised it as the biggest crowd ever.
Relatedly, Mr Trump also claimed that it stopped raining in Washington at the moment he was inaugurated. It didn’t. The day was very dreary.
Moreover, researchers at Harvard Medical School reported in 2016 that the “most important factor” driving prescription drug prices higher in the US than anywhere else is the existence of government-protected “monopoly” rights for drug manufacturers. The US has a patent system that allows companies to remain the only manufacturer of drugs they’ve patented for 20 years or more.
Mr Trump has repeatedly criticised drugmakers, but there has been little indication he will crack down on prices.
Democrats have also railed against the high cost of drugs.
When releasing the party’s economic agenda in July, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said prescription drugs are the single largest factor driving increasing health costs in the US today.
Generic pharmaceutical companies are also currently under fire from consumers, legislators, antitrust enforcers and state attorneys general for what many claim are exorbitant price hikes in recent years.
Last year, multiple senators called for the Federal Trade Commission and the Senate Judiciary Committee to investigate potential antitrust violations by Mylan, which dramatically increased the price of EpiPens – used to treat severe allergic reactions – from $100 for a pack of two in 2009, to about $500 or $600 in 2016.