President Trump announced the signing of four executive orders affecting drug companies and drug prices on Friday in a triumphant tweet:
Yesterday I signed four measures that will massively reduce the prices of prescription drugs, in many cases by more than 50%. Nothing like this has ever been done before because Big Pharma, with its vast power, would not let it happen. Expensive Insulin went from big dollars to virtual pennies. Epi-pens went from their incredibly high, jacked up prices, to lower than their original give away bargains. Biggest price reductions in history, by far! Nothing like this has ever for our citizens, especially our Seniors. REMEMBER YOUR FAVORITE PRESIDENT!
The executive orders are good news for lower-income Americans paying for expensive insulin and epinephrine — life-saving medications that sufferers of diabetes and severe allergies have had difficulty obtaining for reasonable prices in recent years.
According to the White House: The first Order directs federally qualified health centers to pass along massive discounts on insulin and epinephrine received from drug companies to certain low-income Americans.
The executive orders remove the middlemen pocketing discounts meant for seniors which amount to $30 billion annually.
End a shadowy system of kickbacks by middlemen that lurks behind the high out-of-pocket costs many Americans face at the pharmacy counter. Under this action, American seniors will directly receive these kickback as discounts in Medicare Part D. In 2018, these Part D discounts totaled more than $30 billion, representing an average discount of 26 to 30 percent.
The president’s orders include a mandate limiting what drug companies charge Medicare to the same prices those companies charge other countries for the same drugs.
According to the New York Post: “Most notable among the provisions is a new requirement prohibiting drug companies from charging Medicare more than what they charge other nations for the same drugs.”
The prices that Americans pay for prescription drugs should be reduced substantially when the orders come into effect. From whitehouse.gov:
The fourth and final Order ensures that the United States pays the lowest price available in economically comparable countries for Medicare Part B drugs.
The United States often pays 80% more for these drugs than other developed countries.
Another effect of the executive orders is the ability to buy drugs from other countries which will give American companies an incentive to lower their prices.
According to STAT:
Health Secretary Alex Azar told reporters Friday that the administration was now allowing personal importation, a phrase used to describe when individual consumers buy drugs from other countries. The executive order on importation appears to back up Azar’s comments. The order says HHS will facilitate “grants to individuals of waivers of the prohibition of importation of prescription drugs.”
Seema Verma, a CMS administrator explained President Trump’s mission to improve the lives of America’s seniors: “Today’s Executive Order does what President Trump came into office with a mandate to do: disrupt a failed Washington status quo. Thanks to this bold step, Medicare will no longer be a powerless price taker, and American seniors will no longer foot the bill for the world’s innovation while other countries take a free ride.”
We’ve been waiting for Congress to take action for many decades to reduce drug prices …. I’m unwilling to wait any longer,” Trump said.
Go to whitehouse.gov for more details.