Donald Trump draining the Big Pharma swamp
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If you can peel yourself away from gawking at the angry mobs chasing down Trump officials, you might see the real work getting done in Washington. Since the beginning of the year, President Trump’s Health Secretary Alex Azar has beat the drum against Big Pharma to bring down drug prices.

Despite years of the Obama administration promising “Affordable Care” it might be the Trump administration that actually gets something done. Azar’s attacks on his former colleagues are starting to gain traction. The end result could be affordable medicine in our lifetime.

Have you ever had a clogged drain? Maybe too much hair has built up or food particles. You always try “DranO” to get started. Does it ever really work? No, it is a weak fix and you are back staring at a puddle of water next week.

To really clean a grimy drain, you need a snake. The drain snake is the magic weapon of the plumber.

It is a long, winding metallic auger that moves through the drainage system. It finds whatever the problem is and pushes it out. Snakes don’t care what started the problem, they just push it out.

America’s healthcare system is that clogged drain. It is a series of endless hairballs and particles keeping us from running efficiently. Each hairball blames something else: insurance, pharmaceuticals, doctors, trial lawyers…the list goes on.

I don’t care what the cause is, I want the drain snaked. President Trump’s personal plumber, Alex Azar, is on it. He has picked his first fight. It is with the pharmaceutical companies. He will flush out the problem anyway he can.

The opening shots

I told you this was going to happen. Azar is a turncoat for his industry. That is a good thing. A few months ago Secretary Azar demanded that drug companies bring down their prices.

Obviously, no one responds to tough talk. There were incentives and possible restrictions if the large companies didn’t fall in line.

Well, the companies he aimed at said they want to lower their prices, but there is a middleman who won’t let them: PBMs. 

PBMs are — if you don’t know — pharmacy benefit managers. Basically, they get the drugs to the pharmacist and the best deal for all parties. The original intention behind them, ironically, was to bring costs down.

It’s been pretty well documented that PBMs are one of the causes of price inflation for drugs. That isn’t to take away the blame for drug companies.

Whatever the cause, Secretary Azar got the message in front of a Senate panel this month: the pharmaceutical world is making shady deals.

Here is why Alex Azar is so important to this cause. The United States Congress has looked over every aspect of the Affordable Care Act by now. We have sent federal dollars to prop up insurance plans, to back Medicaid, to prop up Medicare… the list goes on.

Despite all the projections from the CBO, at no point has the ACA done what it was intended to accomplish: bring down healthcare costs.

It was never about having the government pay for healthcare. It was about finding a way to control this python wrapped around our collective windpipes.

So why does it take a former Big Pharma exec to explain to people who voted for the ACA why it isn’t working?

That is because they don’t really understand it.

What Alex Azar just revealed to the Senate panel is that there are shady deals being made. Everyone is to blame. Now, sadly because of this, the panel plans to investigate.

Make no mistake, this won’t be an immediate fix. However, this is the beginning of the war.

Who would know better about how the pharmaceutical industry works than a former executive. Someone who has been at the table as the deals are made, Alex Azar.

This summer he has begun the flushing process. Have the Senate investigate the PBMs. If the investigation turns up to show the PBMs are being told by drug companies not to lower the asking price to insurers or employers, then the drug companies are the problem.

If the Senate is truly out to fix this problem, then this was the only way to do it.

Send a former Big Pharma snake in to unclog the drain. It doesn’t matter who is to blame, just get that gigantic healthcare hairball out of our system.

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Article last modified on July 26, 2018. Published by, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: The Coming Drug War: Trump vs. Big Pharma - AMP.

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Article last modified on July 26, 2018. Published by, LLC .