Orencia, a medication prescribed to arthritis patients, is estimated to increase in cost by 6% in 2017; in addition, CNN Money reported that Ampyra, a drug used to treat sclerosis, increased in cost by 9.5% within the first few days of 2017. Money Magazine reported in March 2016 that 40% of generics companies were controlled by three major companies. Corporate mergers are part of the reason that drug companies are able to charge insurers additional amounts of money for drugs.

Prescription drugs are just one of the many segments of the American healthcare system that President Donald Trump wants to overhaul. In one of his earlier press conferences, the President targeted the pharmaceutical manufactures and said, "We have to get our drug industry coming back; our drug industry has been disastrous, and they are leaving left and right. They supply our drugs but they don't make them here, to a large extent."  The President wants to "create new bidding procedures for the drug industry because [drug companies] are getting away with murder -- pharma has a lot of lobbyists and a lot of power. There's very little bidding on drugs; we're the largest buyer of drugs in the world and yet we don't bid properly. We're going to start bidding and going to save billions of dollars over a period of time, and we're going to do that with a lot of other industries."

To try and improve the industry’s image in the eyes of the American population, the pharmaceutical community initiated a television campaign spending large amounts of money on commercials.  But, will this help?

In late January, President Trump met with pharmaceutical executives and asked them to reduce prices and manufacture more of their products in the United States. As an incentive, he promised to ease regulations and expedite the approval process for new medications. Executives from Merck & Co Inc, Johnson & Johnson, Celgene Corp, Eli Lilly & Co, Amgen Inc, and Switzerland's Novartis AG as well as the head of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) lobbying group were in attendance at this meeting.

Among the topics discussed were stronger trade agreements and the removal of outdated regulations which contribute to increased prescription costs and slow innovation. Results from this session were encouraging with drug manufactures promising to increase US jobs.

References

Close K. Donald Trump Said He’d Lower Drug Prices. But They’re Already Going Up.  http://time.com/money/4624069/donald-trump-prescription-drug-prices/. Published January 9, 2017. Accessed February 3, 2017.

Frieden J. Trump Names VA Secretary, Declares War on High Drug Prices. http://www.medpagetoday.com/washington-watch/reform/62470. Published January 11, 2017. Accessed February 3, 2017.

Gibson G. Drug lobby, under criticism, starts media campaign. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-obamacare-pharmaceuticals-idUSKBN15724M. Published January 23, 207. Accessed February 3, 2017.

Novak J. There’s only one way Big Pharma can survive Trump. http://www.cnbc.com/2017/01/11/how-big-pharma-can-survive-trump-commentary.html. Published January 11, 2017. Accessed February 3, 2017.

Rampton R. Beasley D. Trump pushes drugmakers for lower prices, more U.S. production. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-pharmaceuticals-novartis-idUSKBN15F13K?feedType=RSS&feedName=healthNews. Published January 31, 2017. Accessed February 3, 2017.