Before Donald Trump assumed the U.S. presidency, he offered a stern warning that the pharma industry had been “getting away with murder” and that he’d be the one to crack down. Now that Democrats are moving forward with an impeachment inquiry, the president said it wouldn't surprise him if pharma companies were behind the effort.
Speaking at an event at The Villages in Florida Thursday afternoon, Trump said he “wouldn't be surprised if it was from some of these industries that we take on, like pharma,” as quoted by Los Angeles Times reporter Eli Stokols on Twitter.
Trump just suggested big Pharma might be behind the Dems' impeachment probe:— Eli Stokols (@EliStokols) October 3, 2019
"I would be very surprised if the hoax didn't come a little bit from the people that we're taking on... I wouldn't be surprised if it was from some of these industries that we take on, like pharma."
The president said his administration's effort to lower drug costs “is not easy” and that it wouldn’t surprise him if the impeachment “hoax didn’t come a little bit from some of the people that we’re taking on,” Politico reports.
When asked about Trump’s comments, a PhRMA spokeswoman was categorical.
“Not to be so frank, but it is ridiculous you are asking me about it," she said via email. "Of course we are not.”
It's maybe the most shocking statement against the industry the president has made since he said pharma was “getting away with murder” in January 2017. This time around, he faces an impeachment inquiry from House Democrats, and his efforts to combat prescription drug prices have been hit by numerous setbacks.
Trump’s former price-fighting FDA commissioner, Scott Gottlieb, abruptly left office earlier this year, and the administration had to abandon an effort to take on rebates for prescription drugs. Drug companies continued to raise prices, even if Trump did convince Pfizer to delay a round of price hikes last summer.
Looking forward, prescription drug prices will remain a focus for the president, Congress and 2020 presidential candidates. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this week said she will still work to lower drug prices amid the impeachment inquiry. Trump Wednesday tweeted that Pelosi is "incapable of working on either” and that it’s “camouflage for trying to win an election through impeachment.”