Impeached president Donald Trump has made lots of supportive noises about a bill with bipartisan support in the Senate to bring down drug prices, written by Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley and Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden. Knowing that Democrats are going to be running hard on health care in all the states, some Republican senators—such as Arizona's Martha McSally, Iowa's Joni Ernst, and Maine's Susan Collins—would really like to have this pass. They need something to run on.
Grassley says so: "Since the president stated [his support] in his State of the Union message, we've had a lot of Republicans express interest that probably wouldn't have." But one obstacle remains: Mitch McConnell has remained steadfast against it. He says it divides his conference, as there are some Republicans who don't like that it would cap price increases or force companies that raised prices above the cap to pay out rebates as their penalty. They say that amounts to price controls, so McConnell is pointing to that as a reason for his opposition. What he's not talking about is the massive haul his campaign fund has received in the past year from the drug industry.
McConnell is the top recipient among all members of Congress for the 2019-2020 cycle from the pharmaceutical industry. The CEOs of these companies have been very generous to McConnell as well. Last summer, as the drug pricing bill was coming together, William Anderson, the CEO of Roche Pharmaceuticals, gave $15,600 to the McConnell for Majority Leader Committee, as did Bristol-Myers Squibb CEO Giovanni Caforio. The CEOs of Pfizer, AbbVie, Merck, and Sanofi all maxed out as well, while nearly a dozen officers of other companies and the pharmaceutical industry trade group PhRMA itself gave thousands.
Trump supposedly supports it, though it might be his reward to McConnell for the impeachment cover-up to let this one drop. When it comes down to it, Trump needs McConnell right where he is—no one else would be quite so ruthless and effective at helping him get away with all the crime.