Will Trump Lower Prescription Drug Prices?

In a January 2017 White House briefing, President Trump said drug makers were charging too much and promised to deliver better bargains for government health programs.

The President said he wanted to see new drugs making it to the market faster and promised prescription drug savings for Americans. According to a Chicago Tribune article, Trump told the CEO's of the largest drug makers in the world that the manufacturers have produced extraordinary results, but prices were astronomical. In recent months, the President indicated that he would encourage government officials to negotiate drug prices for Medicare and Medicaid, which happen to be some of the largest purchasers of products and services for millions of Americans. Merck and Company CEO, Ken Frazier, said the pharmaceutical industry was ready to work with the President and by working together they could create a system that spurs innovation, which is good for jobs and patients.

Recently, the Trump administration has been holding well informed listening sessions discussing drug prices and according to an article in The Hill, Trump can take action to combat high prices without Congress. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price has been leading the listening sessions for industry leaders and advocates and they appear to be making considerable progress toward policy making for drug pricing. Apparently, some of the lobbyists who've attended the sessions thought they were going to be a promotional campaign, but found them to be filled with substance.

According to a piece in the Washington Examiner, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators, Senator McCain, Senator Gassley and Senator Klobucher sent a letter to President Trump's budget director, Mick Mulvaney, encouraging the Administration to use its powers to lower drug prices quickly. Some of the recommendations the Senators made were giving the Federal Drug Administration the authority to import cheaper drugs from abroad and allowing imports from Canada when competition doesn't exist or during price hikes.

All experts aren't as optimistic. Kathleen Sebelius, HHS Secretary from 2009-2014 under President Obama, said in a Newsweek article that it is unclear how the federal government could have any impact on drug costs. Sebelius further stated she had no idea what the Trump Administration intends to do to actually make prices go down.

Without any specific details by the Administration to reduce drug prices, it appears price reductions for medications would be a long shot. However, HHS Secretary Tom Price said the Trump administration is committed to addressing the high cost of prescription drug prices.


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