Did Drug Prices Really Decline By a Record Amount in 2018?

Last night President Trump said this:

Already, as a result of my Administration’s efforts, in 2018 drug prices experienced their single largest decline in 46 years.

I’ve been puzzling over this ever since he said it. What does he mean? I assume he means prescription drugs, and most of the fact checkers think his statement is based on a report last October from the Council for Economic Advisers, which contained this chart:

I don’t know if this is correct, but even if it is it only goes back five years. I tried doing a simple look at spending on prescription drugs, but even there I could only find annual data going back to 2000. I gave Trump every chance I could by adjusting for inflation and population growth, but even then I only got this:

Prescription drug spending fell 2.6 percent in 2012, and that’s the biggest drop in the past couple of decades. There’s no data yet for 2018, of course, so it’s not on the chart. It’s also unclear how Trump could have said anything about 2018 since he doesn’t have any data either.

I dunno. I guess he just made it up. But if anyone can clue me in about where he got the idea that drug prices declined more in 2018 than any year since 1972, I’d sure be interested to hear it.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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