Fact Check: Joe Biden Claims Trump Has Not Acted to Lower Medicare Drug Prices

Joe Biden Delaware Medicare (Andrew Harnik / Associated Press)
Andrew Harnik / Associated Press

CLAIM: President Donald Trump said he wanted to negotiate lower Medicare drug prices but he “has not done it.”

VERDICT: MOSTLY FALSE. Trump has issued several executive orders to lower Medicare drug prices — though critics want more action.

Former Vice President Joe Biden attacked Trump on Wednesday afternoon over Medicare drug prices, falsely claiming that Trump had not done anything about the problem.

“Even the president — he’s continued to lie about it — acknowledged early on that he thought Medicare should be able to negotiate drug prices overall,” Biden said. “He hasn’t done it. He does not mean it.” Biden went on to say that he could do it with the help of Republicans if he were to be elected president:”There are Republicans that do mean it, so I’m confident we can get it done.”

First, Trump has lowered drug prices. Biden has claimed, falsely, in the past that Trump has not lowered drug prices, but as Breitbart News has noted in previous fact checks, the overall price of drugs has fallen under Trump for the first time in nearly 50 years.

Second, Trump has issued several executive orders on lowering drug prices, including Medicare drug prices. The most recent of these was in September, when Trump issued an executive order declaring that Medicare would not pay more than the lowest “most favored nation” price, i.e. the lowest price available for the same drug in a developed nation.

Some on the left complain that these executive orders have not yet resulted in regulations that implement them, and that a bigger, broader solution is needed.

“Requiring the federal government to negotiate prescription drug prices that are available to all patients and allowing it to impose penalties when drug companies refuse to come to the table are what would benefit the American people,” the Center for American Progress recently wrote.

But Trump has been negotiating with the drug companies — thus far, without reaching agreement — and has taken action to lower drug prices, over their angry objections.

NPR reported:

White House spokesman Judd Deere said the president gave “drug companies a month to come up with a counterproposal,” but the “negotiations did not produce an acceptable alternative, so the President is moving forward.”

It’s unclear how fulsome or serious those negotiations were because neither side released much information about the talks.

So while Biden is correct that there is no legislative solution yet, he is wrong to say that Trump has not tried to negotiate lower drug prices, and wrong to say that Trump “hasn’t done it.”

The president can, arguably, do more, but he has lowered drug prices, for Medicare and in general.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His newest e-book is The Trumpian Virtues: The Lessons and Legacy of Donald Trump’s Presidency. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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