Statement from Margarida Jorge, campaign director for Lower Drug Prices Now, on the White House’s coverage plan for COVID-19 vaccines and treatments:
“Donald Trump is once again hoping that a last-minute PR stunt is going to disguise his failure to stop Big Pharma price gouging. Let’s be clear: vaccines and treatments for COVID are not free–Americans have already paid more than $12 billion in tax dollars to develop and manufacture them. Thanks to Trump’s refusal to rein in Big Pharma’s monopoly power to set prices, Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance corporations will be required to pay Big Pharma whatever price the corporations set for these drugs. That means taxpayers will get stuck paying twice as costs are shifted into higher premiums and increased taxes.
The White House’s action is also a reminder of what’s at stake next month when the Supreme Court considers overturning the Affordable Care Act. The healthcare law requires that all private insurers — including those outside of the exchanges — cover vaccines at no out-of-pocket cost to patients as part of the no-cost preventive care provisions. Overturning the healthcare law would allow insurance companies to resume overcharging patients or denying them coverage for this basic health service.
The only way to ensure that vaccines and treatments are truly affordable is for Congress and the Administration to finally end pharmaceutical corporations’ monopoly control to set drug prices as high as they want. Until then, we’ll continue to pay more for our medicines than every country in the world combined. And no amount of Trump’s PR stunts will be able to cover that up.”