The United States President Donald Trump on July 24 in a ‘historic’ move signed four executive orders aimed at lowering prescription drug prices. At a White House ceremony, Trump laid out his plan, which he previously had proposed but this is the first time they made it into signed executive orders. While one order is about importation, others would direct drugmaker rebates straight t patients and provide insulin and EpiPens at steep discounts to low-income people.
While addressing the White House ceremony, the US President said that he now ‘unwilling’ to wait any longer. He added that he is taking action in his own and pledging that the actions will lead to ‘massive reductions in drug costs’. Further, he said that the new executive orders will work to bridge the inequity between what Americans pay compared with citizens of other countries.
Trump said, “We pay for all of the research and all of the development and foreign countries pay absolutely nothing and our consumer gets charged”.
Out of the four orders signed, one of the orders would now allow for the legal importation of cheaper prescription drugs from countries like China. Another order would require discounts from drug companies now captured by middlemen to be passed on to patients. Furthermore, another order seeks to lower insulin costs, while the fourth, which may not be implemented if talks with drug companies are successful, would require Medicare to purchase drugs at the same price that other countries pay.
Trump, in his first term, had promised to tackle drug prices, however, the will to address the issue appeared to have faded away. Nearly four years later, Trump’s order to slash drug prices comes amid coronavirus pandemic, which has only exacerbated the need for prescription drug reforms. It is also believed that Trump’s latest move comes as the election nears and Democrats have been hammering Republicans on the issue of health care, particularly a Trump-backed lawsuit to overturn the Affordable Care Act.