Cummings and Welch to Trump: Drug Proposal Would Be a “Betrayal” and Grant Pharma’s Wish List

Jun 21, 2017
Press Release

Cummings and Welch to Trump: Drug Proposal Would Be a “Betrayal” and Grant Pharma’s Wish List


Washington, DC (June 21, 2017)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Rep. Peter Welch of Vermont, a senior Democrat on both the Oversight Committee and the Committee on Energy and Commerce, sent a letter to President Donald Trump strongly condemning press reports today that his upcoming drug pricing executive order will grant the pharmaceutical industry’s wish list while doing nothing to lower drug prices for American families.


“Before you were sworn in as President, you railed against the pharmaceutical industry’s abuses, accusing them of ‘getting away with murder,’” Cummings and Welch wrote.  Yet, “recent press reports indicate that you are poised to issue an executive order that would implement administrative actions culled directly from the pharmaceutical industry’s wish list.”


“This would be a betrayal of the very people who supported you and rely on you to make good on your promises,” the Members wrote.


On January 16, 2017, Cummings appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe and offered to work together with President Trump to lower drug prices.  After watching Cummings’ interview, President Trump invited Cummings to the White House to discuss lowering drug prices in a bipartisan manner. 


A few weeks later, the President bizarrely claimed that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer directed Cummings to call off the meeting because it was politically disadvantageous.  In fact, Cummings and Welch were drafting legislation to achieve the goals the President said he wanted—allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices.


Cummings and Welch met with President Trump and Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price on March 8 to discuss the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs, and they presented draft legislation to allow Medicare to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs—a proposal the American people overwhelmingly support.


During that meeting, the Members asked for the President’s feedback, advice, and support for their draft legislation before they officially introduced it. President Trump appeared to be enthusiastic about the proposal and even called Cummings after the meeting to confirm his interest in working together, but the Members received no further contact, feedback, or advice after that meeting.


The Members even sent a previously undisclosed letter to President Trump on April 20, 2017, reiterating their request to work with him on this issue.  Again, they never received any response.


“Your statements and your promises gave many of us hope, but your planned executive actions suggest that you have abandoned these promises in favor of the very pharmaceutical lobby you warned of,” the Members wrote.  “Simply put, Mr. President, these measures utterly fail to make good on your promise to the American people to take aggressive action to cut the skyrocketing price of prescription drugs.  Six months into your presidency, the pricing power of the pharmaceutical industry continues—unabated and unchecked.”

The Members asked the President to direct his Administration’s internal working group “to embrace the aggressive reform desperately needed by Americans—which you promised in your campaign—rather than the steps they are reportedly considering at the behest of the pharmaceutical industry.”


Click here to read today’s letter.


115th Congress