President Trump signed four executive orders on Friday that intend to reduce the costs of prescription drugs, including one proposal specifically targetting high insulin prices.
During the signing ceremony at the White House, Trump said he had learned Americans were paying up to 80 percent more for medications compared to people who live in Canada, Germany, and other countries, so he wanted to get U.S. prescription costs on par with these lower figures.
“The four orders 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,” Trump said as CNBC reports. “Under my administration, we’re standing up to the lobbyists and special interests and fighting back against a rigged system.”
According to the report, the orders also hold federal community health centers accountable to their patients and force them to pass on any savings or discounts to the individuals purchasing the medications.
“Everyone will get a fairer and much lower price,” Trump explained. “Under our ridiculous system, which has been broken for decades, we’re not even allowed to negotiate the price of drugs.”
The first order targets high insulin prices, requiring federal community health centers to pass discounts they receive on the drug and EpiPens directly to patients. The president said those providers shouldn’t receive those discounts while charging their patients “massive, full prices.”
The second order would allow states, pharmacies and wholesalers to import drugs from Canada where they typically cost less than in the U.S. In most circumstances, it is illegal to import medications from other countries for personal use, according to the Food and Drug Administration.
The third order is aimed at preventing “middlemen,” also known as pharmacy benefit managers, from pocketing “gigantic discounts,” Trump said. PhRMA has argued that drug price hikes over the years have been modest and has cited concerns with the nation’s rebate system.
The fourth order, which Trump said he may not need to implement, would allow Medicare to purchase drugs at the same price other countries pay. The order would specifically allow Medicare to implement a so-called international pricing index to bring drug prices in line with what other nations pay.
During the same signing ceremony, Trump announced that he has secured 90 percent of the world’s supply of remdesivir—a drug used to treat the coronavirus.