President Donald Trump signed off on four decrees reducing the price of drugs in the United States even more than he had already achieved, fulfilling another of his political campaign promises.
“So today, I’m taking bold and historic, very dramatic action to reduce the price of prescription drugs for American patients and American seniors,” President Trump said at the White House on July 24. He also said what “I’m signing today will completely restructure the prescription drug market, in terms of pricing and everything else, to make these medications affordable and accessible for all Americans.”
The decrees include discounts on insulin and Epipen prices, allowing imports of much cheaper but identical prescription drugs, cutting out middlemen who don’t pass on negotiated discounts to consumers, and a ban on “secret agreements” between manufacturers.
Medicare is the largest purchaser of drugs globally, and Trump said, “We’re finally going to use that incredible power to achieve a fairer and lower price for everyone.”
The bill will ensure that rebates drugmakers now pay to benefit managers and insurers get passed directly to patients when they buy medication.
The “secret agreements” refer to negotiations between drug manufacturers and the intermediaries of the pharmacy’s profit manager (middlemen) secretly setting higher prices for drugs to unjustifiably increase their profits, to the detriment of the sick citizens in need.
The executive order containing the provisions on the dismantling of the “secret agreements” comes into force on Aug. 24, allowing a month for the pharmaceutical companies and their distributors to freely propose the strategy for abolishing the present system.
“Drug prices fell in 2018 for the first time in nearly half a century. During the first 19 months of my administration, Americans saved $26 billion on prescription drugs. Our policies to bring cheaper generic drugs to market are working,” President Trump announced in a January 2019 tweet.
The Trump administration estimates that the pharmaceutical industry is increasing the prices it charges the government for medicines by up to 80 percent.
According to President Trump, with this disproportionate pricing, the United States would be assuming the cost of pharmaceutical industry research and development for the entire world.
President Trump said lowering drug prices had been a pending task for more than 50 years. In just the Obama administration, prices had risen by 55 percent.
President Trump’s statement continued, “Under our ridiculous system, which has been broken for decades, we aren’t even allowed to negotiate the price of drugs. … We’re restricted by Congress from negotiating the price of drugs.”
Price reductions may not be achieved immediately since the process involves a bureaucratic procedure that would delay them. Also, legal action may be taken to avoid compliance.
“The drug lobby is making an absolute fortune at the expense of American consumers,” President Trump said at the White House in May 2018.
“No industry spends more money on lobbying than the health care pharmaceutical health products industry. Last year, these companies spent nearly $280 million on lobbyists,” President Trump added.
Stephen Ubl, head of the pharmaceutical lobby, said, the Trump administration “has decided to pursue a radical and dangerous policy of pricing based on fees paid in countries it has called socialist, which will hurt patients today and in the future,” reported Fox News.
President Trump said, “Americans are funding the enormous cost of drug research and development for the entire planet. We’re—we are bearing the entire cost of all of this; they’re bearing none. They say, ‘This is what we’re going to pay.’ In some cases, it’s a socialist country. So we’re paying to reduce drug prices in a socialist country. How does that work?”
Democrats are preparing similar plans so that the credit would go to Democratic candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden.