Pharma Industry Just Keeps on Winning

Manufacturers’ lobbying efforts have allowed them to dodge or beat back every effort to increase regulatory oversight.

During the 2016 campaign, candidate Donald Trump proclaimed: “We’re going to win so much, you’re going to be so sick and tired of winning.” On at least one front, however, neither Trump nor Congress has won: curtailing the power of the pharmaceutical industry.

In fact, as an in-depth expose in Stat delineates, it’s the pharma industry that keeps winning and if it’s tired of doing so it’s not showing it. The industry has managed to dilute, deflect or defeat almost every legislative, regulatory or judicial effort to rein in its influence in Washington, D.C., and the country at large.

“A week ago, the industry struck its biggest blow yet,” Stat reports. “Three of the country’s largest pharmaceutical companies—Amgen, Eli Lilly, and Merck—prevailed in a lawsuit to strike down a Trump administration requirement that they disclose list prices in television advertisements.”

The article adds that “the lack of congressional action—despite the Democratic enthusiasm and bipartisan appetite—is still further evidence of industry’s ability to stave off defeat.”

To be sure, some pharma industry experts and insiders tell Stat that the industry’s winning ways could still be disrupted. But time’s running out. “As the dozens of Democrats running for president ramp up their anti-pharma rhetoric, both Trump and progressives have begun to fret that Washington’s efforts have proven to be all bark and no bite,” Stat reports. “With two weeks remaining before the August recess and an escalating 2020 campaign, some advocates fear that the window for bold action is closing quickly.”

Drug industry lobbyists are telling their clients that “the end of September is likely the deadline for this Congress to act on drug pricing.”