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Trump says 'massive' campaign spending fuels rise in drug prices

  • President Donald Trump on Monday renewed his attack on the U.S. pharmaceutical industry.
  • He complained that drug prices are too high and said campaign contributions to Congress are partly to blame.
  • In an informal press conference with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Trump said the drug industry's political contributions helped explain the high costs of prescription drugs.

President Donald Trump on Monday renewed his attack on the U.S. pharmaceutical industry, complaining that drug prices are too high and saying campaign contributions to Congress are partly to blame.

"Prescription drug prices are out of control," Trump said in a Cabinet meeting. "The drug prices have gone through the roof."

Later, in an informal press conference with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Trump said the drug industry's political contributions helped explain the high costs of prescription drugs in the U.S.

"They contribute massive amounts of money to political people — I don't know, Mitch, maybe even to you," Trump told reporters. "But I have to tell you: Me? I'm not interested in their money. I don't need their money."

McConnell was among the top 10 biggest recipients of contributions from drugmakers in the last four campaign cycles, according to OpenSecrets.org, which tracks campaign finance.

Other top recipients include Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc.

In the 2016 presidential race, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton received $990,338 in contributions from drugmakers. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent who ran as a Democrat, took in $128,140. Trump received $127,505.

Among the industry's top donors, Pfizer was the most generous in the 2015-16 campaign cycle, spending more than $2 million in political contributions, according to OpenSecrets.org.


Trump complained Monday that American consumers have to pay much higher prices than consumers in other countries.

"You look at the same exact drug by the same exact company, made in the same exact box and sold someplace else, sometimes it's a fraction of what we pay in this country," he said. "The drug companies frankly are getting away with murder."

WATCH: Trump, McConnell on drug prices and tax reform