Unfortunately, if recent rumors about the president’s drug policy are any guide, Trump the president seems to have lost the courage of Trump the candidate on this issue. This is saddening, because the rest of Washington seems to have come candidate Trump’s way. The ground in Congress has unmistakably shifted on the question of drug pricing. With that shift has come some much-needed skepticism of the previously almost bulletproof pharmaceutical industry’s influence over debates on drug policy – skepticism which is slowly but surely making its way into not just op-eds and policy studies, but into actual legislation.
The most recent example of this is the bill that was just introduced by Reps. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) and Peter Welch (D-V.T.) designed to close the so-called “orphan drug loophole” connected to the 340B drug-pricing program. “Orphan drugs” refer to a category of drug supposedly targeted at such a niche market (sufferers of a rare disease) that they could not be profitable without extra government incentives.