JUDY WOODRUFF: During the 2016 election campaign, President Trump repeatedly pledged to bring down prescription drug prices. And his administration has taken some steps in recent months, including trying to increase the number of generic, or non-brand name products, available to substitute for high-cost drugs. They have also lowered the price Medicare pays initially for some medications. Feeling political pressure, some drugmakers have announced temporary price freezes. But a new analysis by the Associated Press finds there have been far more price hikes than cuts. While price increases did slow somewhat, the analysis found there have been 96 price hikes for every price cut in the first seven months of this year. Journalist Elisabeth Rosenthal watches health care costs. She's the author of a book on the subject called An American Sickness, and she's the editor in chief of Kaiser Health News. Elisabeth Rosenthal, welcome to the NewsHour.
ELISABETH ROSENTHAL, Editor in Chief, Kaiser Health News: Thank you.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, in sum, what is this AP analysis telling us?
ELISABETH ROSENTHAL: Well, it's showing us how hard it is to bring down drug prices, and that the president, despite his narrative of saying these companies are getting away with murder, isn't making a whole lot of headway. I mean, that's pretty extraordinary, 96 up to one down.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But there, they do show there is some slowing in the rate of increase. Is that right?
ELISABETH ROSENTHAL: Well, they do. But when you're saying slowing in the rate of increase, that means they're still going up. And these prices are already for many drugs, for an extraordinary number of Americans, unaffordable. So they shouldn't just be going up at a slower pace. I think we really need them to come down.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Now, we know what, Elisabeth Rosenthal, we know what the drug companies say. They say, we need this additional money because we're doing experiments. We're trying to come up with new drugs to solve other problems, to cure other illnesses. And that costs money.
ELISABETH ROSENTHAL: Yes, they say that. And that is true. But I think what we see, which is extraordinary to me, is that, over time, the same exact drug, a vaccine for pneumococcal pneumonia, a cancer drug, will go up, will double, will