Sen. Claire McCaskill Is Baffled By Trump’s Decision On Medicare

Carolyn KasterAP Images

President Donald Trump’s announcement to lower drug prices received a mixed reaction from the senators. While Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said that Trump should stop wasting people’s time “bragging about meagre, window-dressing policies, Senator Claire McCaskill said that she did not understand why the president backed off the idea of Medicare negotiating drug prices directly, which could bring significant savings for millions of people.

“If the Administration is looking to work with Congress to lower drug prices, they’ve got a ready and willing partner in me, and in the meantime, I’m going to continue to do all I can to work across the aisle and bring down drug costs for Missourians,” she said.

As a bipartisan initiative, Claire worked in tandem with Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine to look into the causes, impacts, and potential solutions leading to skyrocketing price hikes facing consumers. Their joint report, titled, Sudden Price Spikes in Off-Patent Prescription Drugs:The Monopoly Business Model that Harms Patients, Taxpayers, and the U.S. Health Care System, uncovered a business model that holds patients hostage in order to boost the bottom line for pharmaceutical companies.

The report investigated four companies — Turing, Retrophin, Rodelis, and Valeant. As per the findings of the report, each of these pharmaceutical companies zeroed in on a sole-sourced gold standard drug for which there is a small market. The companies then created a closed distribution system to block other players from entering the market. They also engaged in price gouging to make “massive profits from decades-old life-saving therapies,” the report stated.

“What we need now is to hold drug companies’ feet to the fire for their greedy choices that are devastating Missouri families. I was glad to hear President Trump discuss one of the issues I’ve been working on—getting rid of ‘pharmacy gag clauses’ that prohibit pharmacists from letting Missourians know if a drug might be cheaper without insurance. But we also need to be doing more. In particular, I don’t understand why the President backed off the idea of Medicare negotiating drug prices directly,” said McCaskill in a statement to the press.