Donald Trump has issued a new video suggesting, without evidence, that "Big Pharma" may be responsible for "an unexplained and alarming growth in the prevalence of chronic illnesses and health problems, especially in children."
"We've seen a stunning rise in autism, auto-immune disorders, obesity, infertility, serious allergies, and respiratory challenges," Trump says in the video. "Is it the food that they eat? The environment that we live in? The over-prescription of certain medications? Is it the toxins and chemicals that are present in our homes?"
"Every year, we spend hundreds of billions of dollars to treat these chronic problems rather than looking at what is causing them in the first place," Trump says in the video. "Too often, our public health establishment is too close to Big Pharma—they make a lot of money, Big Pharma—big corporations, and other special interests, and does not want to ask the tough questions about what is happening to our children's health. If Big Pharma defrauds American patients and taxpayers or puts profits above people, they must be investigated and held accountable."
I can understand Trump being mad at Pfizer over delaying the vaccine announcement until after the presidential election. That timing could have affected the outcome.
But with his talk about "Big Pharma" and "big corporations, and other special interests," Trump sounds like Bernie Sanders, or Elizabeth Warren, or Barack Obama, not a conventional Republican presidential candidate. As often with Trump, it's hard to tell how much of this is what he really thinks, and how much of it is public posturing designed to improve his negotiating position or win over voters. Maybe Trump won't win the nomination, or maybe he won't win the election, or maybe he will mellow out and rethink this plan if he does get a second term. But if I were running a pharmaceutical company or owned a lot of stock in one, I'd be concerned at the fact that both the leading Republican presidential candidate and the Democratic president ("cuts wasteful spending on Big Pharma, Big Oil, and other Special Interests," a March 2023 White House budget "fact sheet" says) are denouncing me. And as a person with an interest in making sure there are robust commercial incentives for developing new life-saving medicines and grateful for those that already exist, I find the Pharma-bashing disappointing.