Trump, Novartis, and Prescription Drug Prices

One of Trump’s campaign promises was to lower prescription drug prices.

On January 31, 2017, he met with pharmaceutical company executives at the White House, including Joe Jimenez, then CEO of Novartis.

In February, 2017, Novartis signed a deal with Cohen’s shell company for $1.2 million dollars.

In March, 2017, a team from Novartis met with Cohen and decided he couldn’t deliver, but that would continue payments until their contract with his shell company expired.

Also in March, 2017, Trump made a very fine point to the pharmaceutical industry:

…Trump said the “cost of medicine in this country is outrageous” and pointed to cheaper drug prices in many European countries. He then went on to say that the reason drug prices in the United States are so high is due to campaign contributions made by pharmaceutical companies to powerful political interests.

In January, 2018, the new Novartis CEO dined with Trump and a handful of other executives in Davos, Switzerland. This was also the last month they made payments to Cohen’s shell company.

Unlike his perpetual howling for a wall, Trump has not made any move to fulfill his campaign promises regarding prescription drug prices. I feel like the news is not joining the two narratives: pharma payments to Cohen, and Trump’s inaction on drug prices.


Wiretapping and 16 cell phones in Stupid Watergate.

We’ll see if the FBI joins the two narratives.


You have money flowing into a shell corporation from pharma companies, you have demonstrated that Trump is a beneficiary of that shell corporation, you have a clear change in political direction by the Trump Administration, and you have meetings between the pharma company executives and the Trump administration that coincide with these payments.

It seems like it should be a slam dunk, but somehow I suspect that it will all just get waved away. All of Washington is pay-to-play, and we don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater.


Shady shell companies are primitive GoFundMes for politicians.


Here’s NY Times telling how Trump has opted not to take any real action on drug prices, without mentioning the million of dollars Novartis paid to a corporation Trump directly benefits from.

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