Could Trump push up NZ drug prices?

The cost of health care in the US is notoriously high. President Donald Trump is taking aim at high drug prices in the US, but that could impact on international prices – which could include New Zealand.

RNZ – Trump: Other nations extort drug-makers

Speaking in Washington on Friday, he said he had directed his top trade negotiator to make the issue a priority in trade talks.

“It is time to end the global freeloading once and for all,” he said.

The president is under pressure to deliver on campaign promises to reduce the high costs of prescription drugs.

In his speech, the president pinned the problem in part on price controls in other countries that he said “extort unreasonably low prices” from drug-makers, forcing Americans to pay more to “subsidise the enormous costs of research and development”.

Strange talk from someone with a lot of experience in business. Drug prices are negotiated with suppliers.

However, experts say foreign pricing is not a major influence on US costs and changing it will not help Americans.

Gerard Anderson, a professor of health policy at Johns Hopkins University, said he is sceptical the proposals will reduce health care costs overall and it is too early to gauge the political effect.

Paul Ginsburg, a professor of health policy at USC and the director of the USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative for Health Policy, said firms set prices to maximise profits and already have ample incentives to innovate.

“The notion that if other countries pay more for drugs that US consumers will pay less, that’s just not true,” he said.

“If they are able to get other countries to pay more, I don’t believe it will have any effect on prices in the United States,” he added. “It will only raise drug company profits.”

Shares of health care companies jumped after the president’s speech.

Is this another example of Trump helping US companies improve their profits?

The US spent $1,443 per capita on pharmaceutical costs in 2016, compared to a range of $466 to $939 in 10 other high income countries, including the UK, Australia, Canada and Japan, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The report said those costs were one of the primary drivers of overall US health spending, which was nearly twice as high as in the other countries.

There’s a lot more affecting the terribly expensive cost of health care in the US. Drug companies charge what the system allows them to get away with.

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34 Comments

  1. Reply
    • sarineal

       /  May 13, 2018

      There’s a bit of irony there and didn’t we claim to be “bullied” before by the US? They are entitled to make their own decisions and this is more complicated than meets the eye due to the system we have and that where possible, we purchase out-of-patent generics to get more bang out of our buck. In their turn, pharmaceutical companies charge for new drugs development costs which needs to be recovered in the fairly short time they have exclusive access plus manufacture of commercial quantities and then only later it is profit. They actually take a while to truly make a return as the development costs need to be covered. Yes, they are evil and all that but in all that their products are a good and they need to be viable in the long run.

      This issue involves the much more expensive new drugs which are extremely costly to produce and study and it begs the question of why does the author of the article think public ventures only go so far and then hand it over? It’s because of the cost and that they don’t have the expertise to take it further. It also devolves the risks away from the public sector too and there are many in drug development. In NZ often when Pharmac won’t fund they will offer at a cheaper price on a compassionate basis or even better like with a friend of ours with terminal malignant melanoma which has metastasised they’ve offered them a place on a international drug trial of a very new ‘blockbuster’ cancer drug.

      As I noted someone say it’s very ironic the person that did the “Art of the Deal” is complaining when other countries do so and guarantee drug companies exclusive supply for a whole country which gives a better deal. I have no doubt whatsoever the insurance companies in the US also pay out contributions to election funds and screw down pharmaceutical and device suppliers down as much as they can also, their model is to collect as much in premiums as possible and correspondingly pay out as little as possible. They only pay the hospitals a fraction of the up front cost they charge and it’s only the uninsured that pay full cost. The friend that got charged that huge price was paying more than the simple cost of the drug. I do think however that it is important to raise, but it should be about making costs reasonable within the US and not impinge on the right of other countries to negotiate good prices with suppliers. It would truly have to be cross-subsidised to be a real issue, and they have not proven that anywhere I can see.

      Reply
  2. Gezza

     /  May 13, 2018

    More bullshit from the World Bullshit Heavyweight Division title holder. 😡

    Reply
  3. David

     /  May 13, 2018

    He has totally missed the target with this one, he should be copying not condeming.
    Not all pharmaceutical companies are American and its donations to Senators and Congress people which is more of a problem, Trump seems pretty immune from the donor issue.

    Reply
  4. artcroft

     /  May 13, 2018

    Wow, so its those damn foreigners again. Can’t someone build a wall to keep them out?

    Reply
  5. David

     /  May 13, 2018

    Obamacare stopped competition at state lines, healthcare is exempt from anti trust laws and Obamacare was compulsory so you had insurers buying hospitals etc and vertically integrated themselves to near monopoly positions and ramped up insurance premiums.
    Trump has dismantled some of this with abolishing the individual mandate and easing inter state competition but bloody McCain torpedoed further reform.
    Lawsuits add huge costs as well and the trial lawyers are huge contributors to the Democrats.

    Reply
    • artcroft

       /  May 13, 2018

      The GOP plan is much simpler: Health care for the wealthy. You should stand for parliament here David and sell your great health care ideas. You’d be PM I no time I’m sure.

      Reply
      • David

         /  May 13, 2018

        What are you talking about, was it necessary to just go straight for the personal.

        Reply
        • artcroft

           /  May 13, 2018

          That’s not a personal attack, it’s a sarcastic comment about the political impracticalities of your ideas.

          Reply
  6. lurcher1948

     /  May 13, 2018

    Don’t we get all our pills from India, not that expensive USA…rubbish

    Reply
    • NOEL

       /  May 13, 2018

      Trump better be careful. Bangladesh is an example when a country is forced to buy phamcutals that its population can not afford.

      Reply
      • David

         /  May 13, 2018

        Why would he be scared of Bangladesh? No one forces them to buy pharmaceuticals, it’s their choice.

        Reply
        • NOEL

           /  May 13, 2018

          Back in 1978 pills were expensive from all manufacturers. What’s interesting is how they got around it.

          Reply
  7. Alan Wilkinson

     /  May 13, 2018

    He’s identified the problem for the US and probably picked the right way to generate pressure for reform both internal and external. Americans will get visibility into how badly they are being ripped off and foreign leaders will react to add pressure onto the drug companies. Good tactics.

    Reply
    • artcroft

       /  May 13, 2018

      Nonsense, he’s demonising foreign countries as the source of all US problems. His aim is to avoid forcing any change in the US financial/medical system. Which of course is a major GOP donor.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  May 13, 2018

        Americans know that they are being had, hence the trips to Canada. An American friend who died of cancer recently occasionally mentioned the cost (she did have insurance, but even so) and it was eye-watering.

        I wouldn’t care at all where our drugs come from as long as they’re up to standard.

        Reply
  8. Alan Wilkinson

     /  May 13, 2018

    Trump’s proposals are much more extensive than just the trade agreement issue:
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-05-11/drug-industry-dodges-worst-fears-in-trump-s-plan-on-u-s-prices

    Reply
  9. David

     /  May 13, 2018

    “There’s a lot more affecting the terribly expensive cost of health care in the US. Drug companies charge what the system allows them to get away with.”

    The primary driver of US health care costs is the simple fact Americans expect a lot more health care than other nations.

    Reply
    • David

       /  May 13, 2018

      and sue if they dont get it.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  May 13, 2018

        Remember when someone shoved up the price of (HIV ?) drugs to an exorbitant price and earned himself the title of Most Hated Man in (the US ? the World ?)

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  May 13, 2018

          He might even be doing time for that now, that dude. Saw something on him on 1ewes about him not too long ago but wasn’t paying much attention. If he wasn’t headed for the slammer seemed like he was gonna be bankrupted by the fine.

          Reply
  10. Zedd

     /  May 13, 2018

    follow the money.. time to fund hikurangi etc.

    Reply
    • Zedd

       /  May 13, 2018

      many say ‘cannabis is not proved to be medicinal’ BUT if you do inhale, you dont really care, anymore ! ‘EUPHORIA, man’ 😀 😀

      Reply
  11. Zedd

     /  May 13, 2018

    DUMP Drumpf

    Reply
  12. PartisanZ

     /  May 13, 2018

    Most times, literally and metaphorically, if you wanna change something in politics you gotta first create an enemy or enemies … next have a war with them … win that war (which sometimes requires compromising your original position) … then define your conditions for ‘peace’ …

    It’s the relatively simple process of violence and brute force transposed onto so-called ‘civilization’ … Meaning we have a long, long, long way to go before we’re truly civilized …

    This process has gotten extremely perverted over the long period currently dominated by politics as we know it.

    Example: Aotearoa New Zealand’s cannabis laws –

    – Who or what is the enemy? ……… Cannabis and 64% of the people of Aotearoa NZ
    – The war? ……… To change the Law as little as possible
    – The compromise? ……… Terminal illness with 12 months or less to live
    – Conditions of Peace? …… No home grown … because once “The Regime” is in place anyone who needs pharmaceutical cannabis products will be prescribed them by their doctor.

    Does anyone know what “The Regime” is?

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  May 13, 2018

      Yep. It’s the pharmaceutical companies.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  May 13, 2018

        One of the things I found fascinating when I forced myself to endure Fox TV over a four day period a couple of months back was the medical/health product advertising. There was a helluva lot of it. But over there, when they’ve done their spiel on the wonderful efficacy of the the product to cure all manner of ailments and create a veritable heaven on earth for the user at the same time, they are obviously required to include all the cautions and side effects and to see your doctor if your eyes and ears suddenly start bleeding or your heart stops or whatever.

        By the time these are finished you wouldn’t want to touch the bloody product half the time as you wouldn’t trust it!

        It’s not so bad over here – in the sense that we don’t get so many pharmaceutical and health product tv ads as they seem to. But its noticeable what we do see doesn’t have the same level of very clear warnings, and I’m sure I saw somewhere that we are the only other country allowed to advertise pharmaceuticals on tv.

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  May 13, 2018

          We don’t advertise everything, though. I haven’t seen ads for heart and cancer drugs. My impression is that it’s things like arthritis cures and vitamins, not things for life-threatening conditions.

          I tend to have pain in a knee as the result of an accident, and decided to try the Emulgel Osteo or whatever it’s called. Chiz, chiz, chiz, the woman in the shop told me that it was ordinary Emulgel with a different lid. Higher price, less of it. No, thank you.

          I buy generic brands of ibuprofen and paracetomol, just as good at a much lower price.

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  May 13, 2018

            The PDTs are showing their usual discernment.

            Reply

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