President Donald Trump gave a speech about pharmaceutical drug prices last month. During his presidential campaign and leading up to his inauguration, he accused pharmaceutical companies with “getting away with murder” for what they charge patients for prescriptions and promised to enact reforms to lower drug prices. After sixteen months in office, his speech last month consisted of few proposals as opposed to proposing meaningful legislation or guidelines that could have an immediate effect on prescription costs and actually led to pharmaceutical stocks rising.   Trump took aim at Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) who he referred to as “middlemen” who implement “gag rules” that forbid pharmacists from telling patients they are spending more than they need to on a prescription (you can read our blog on the laws proposed

to combat PBM gag rules here). He also touched on other popular proposals such as removing barriers to generic medications and biosimilars from entering the market and encouraging lower prices through competition, as well as granting Medicare Part D more flexibility to negotiate prices with manufacturers.   Some new ideas did emerge from Trump’s speech: price transparency by encouraging pharmaceutical companies to include the list price of their drug in advertisements; and to somehow make foreign nations (many of which buy U.S.-made medications through direct negotiations between their governments and pharmaceutical companies) pay more. There is little evidence to support transparency in pricing will impact prescription prices; it follows a pattern of attempting to “shame” pharmaceutical companies, as the Food and…