Trump signs executive orders to cut prescription drug prices

Trump signs executive orders to lower prescription drug prices
Trump signs orders to cut prescription drug prices. Source: Reuters
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Daily US Times: US President Donald Trump has signed four executive orders focused to cut prescription drug prices in the US.

Mr Trump said: “The four orders I’m signing today will completely restructure the prescription drug market.” The president has long criticised “astronomical” prices.

The orders would allow discounts and import of cheaper drugs from abroad.

On Tuesday, Mr Trump will meet pharmaceutical bosses, but some industry analysts have criticised the move, saying it would not have much effect.

In a statement, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America said:”This administration has decided to pursue a radical and dangerous policy to set prices based on rates paid in countries that he [President Trump] has labelled as socialist, which will harm patients today and into the future.”

Mr Trump’s move was “a reckless distraction that impedes our ability to respond to the current [coronavirus] pandemic – and those we could face in the future”, the statement said.

Brian Abrahams, a biotech analyst at RBC Capital Markets, said: “We believe they are likely geared more towards deriving campaign talking points rather than producing tangible, material effects,”

As Trump outlined the plan to prescription drug prices, shares of several drugmakers ticked up recovering some of the day’s losses.

PresidentTrump repeatedly has called for lowering the cost of prescription drugs but Congress has not passed a major drug price reform yet.

Many of Trump administration’s past efforts to cut drug prices, including its plan to force insurers and other healthcare payers to pass rebates on to patients, have stalled amid industry pushback.

President Trump’s administration has been criticised for its response for the worsening coronavirus pandemic, as the number of confirmed virus-related deaths in America has now topped 145,000.

Since taking office, President Trump has made repeated attacks against those who set drug prices and has pledged to take radical steps to reduce them.

But with the presidential election just several months away, industry experts have expressed their doubts that any major decisions could come into force before the 3 November vote.

Experts also say that the White House has limited power to implement drug pricing policies.

Executive orders can be challenged in court and do not have any automatic legal force.

The US spends roughly twice the average amount spent by other member countries on pharmaceuticals per head, according to a 2019 report by the OECD group of industrialised nations, t

For example, where the UK paid £398 ($497) per head in 2015, the USA paid $1,162, despite having similar levels of prescription drug use.