President Trump Signs Executive Order to Help Lower Drug Prices

Written by Martin Walsh

OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion

Americans who buy pharmaceutical drugs have just secured a huge win.

President Donald Trump has officially signed an executive order to help lower prices for Americans to put “America first,” according to a document released by the White House.

The order will make it easier for more Americans to get access to the drugs they need and encourage free-market competition for drug companies instead of allowing monopolies.

Trump released a statement regarding the executive order and blasted current drug prices in America for being unfair, too expensive, and dangerous for Americans’ health.

“In addition to being unfair, high drug prices in the United States also have serious economic and health consequences for patients in need of treatment,” the president said.

“It is the policy of the United States that the Medicare program should not pay more for costly Part B prescription drugs or biological products than the most-favored-nation price,” he said.

And, according to the press release, Trump is ordering the new rule to be put in place effective immediately.

“To the extent consistent with law, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall immediately take appropriate steps to implement his rulemaking plan,” he said.

Last July, the president signed an executive order to help reduce what the U.S. pays for drugs so that it’s more in line with the lowest price paid elsewhere in the world.

“As you know, for years and years other nations paid less for drugs than we do. Sometimes by 60-70%. We’re working on it right now, we’re working on a favored nations clause, where we pay whatever the lowest nation’s price is,” he added.

Trump said: “Why should other nations — like Canada — but why should other nations pay much less than us? They’ve taken advantage of the system for a long time, Pharma.”

The “favored nations clause” refers to a contract in which a seller gives buyers the same best terms that it offers to other buyers.

In 2018, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services proposed an “international drug pricing index” that would help Medicare pay similar rates for drugs as what other countries do.

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Trump vowed on the campaign trail back in 2016 to lower drug prices in the U.S. and has slammed what he calls a “global freeloading” system in which drug companies are able to offer their products at a lower cost to other countries by charging the U.S. more.

Trump vowed when he was running for president that he would go after pharmaceutical companies, whom he said “are getting away with murder,” and floated the idea of giving the government more control in Medicare to directly negotiate prices.

The president is delivering on his campaign promise with these executive orders.