I mentioned earlier this week that pharmaceutical stocks had jumped after the election of Donald Trump, apparently on the expectation that under Trump and his fellow Republicans, the biotech industry no longer had to worry about efforts to keep skyrocketing drug prices within reason.
As the folks at Business Insider document the leap:
At first, that jump might seem curious. After all, as the Washington Post points out, Trump had campaigned on the issue of allowing lower-cost drugs to be imported from overseas as a way to moderate drug prices. At one point, Trump had also backed allowing Medicare to use its immense buying power to negotiate drug prices, which would drive costs down for everyone. (Soaring drug prices have been one of the biggest drivers of increasing health-insurance rates.)
“When it comes time to negotiate the cost of drugs, we are going to negotiate like crazy,” Trump promised a crowd in New Hampshire back in February. “The drug companies probably have the second or third most powerful lobby in this country. They get the politicians, and every single one of them is getting money from them.”
In fact, if you go to the Trump campaign site, you might still find the following language if it hasn’t been scrubbed yet:
“Congress will need the courage to step away from the special interests and do what is right for America. Though the pharmaceutical industry is in the private sector, drug companies provide a public service. Allowing consumers access to imported, safe and dependable drugs from overseas will bring more options to consumers.”
Pretty clear, right? Well, here’s the thing. The Trump transition team has now released its list of health-care goals and policies, and somehow there’s suddenly no mention of allowing imported drugs. It just … vanished! As the Post points out:
” …. the (Trump) transition’s website omits what had been the Republican nominee’s call for Congress to allow Americans to import prescription drugs from countries where they are sold at lower prices. This idea has long been favored by Democratic lawmakers but repeatedly blocked by Republicans.”
“The biotech and pharma rally benefited John Paulson, one of Trump’s economic advisers. On Wednesday, Paulson’s hedge fund Paulson & Co. made $463 million, largely due to the fund’s pharmaceutical investments.”
This is a pattern that you’re going to see repeated over and over and over again, on issue after issue. The con has worked, the marks have swallowed it hook, line and sinker and now it’s time to cash in. The swamp isn’t going to be drained; the swamp is getting bigger by the minute.