The long wait for action on prescription drug costs is finally over.
On Friday, President Donald Trump announced four executive orders that are aimed at making prescription drugs more affordable for Americans.
“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 during the White House press briefing. “Under my administration, we’re standing up to the lobbyists and special interests and fighting back against a rigged system.”
Each of the president’s four executive orders targets a different cause of the high prices that Americans have been paying for prescription drugs.
The foremost executive order, referred to by Trump as the “granddaddy” of them all, is called the “favored nations rule.”
According to Fox News, this order “would require Medicare to purchase drugs at the same prices paid by foreign countries, which Trump said will prevent the U.S. from continuing to subsidize the cost of research and development for the entire world.” The idea is that negotiations between Medicare and international entities will drive down the costs of prescription drugs for purchasers.
Another one of President Trump’s orders will allow U.S. providers to import prescription drugs from countries like Canada where they are often available at significantly lower costs.
The president’s third executive order looks to help Americans avoid prescription drug “middlemen,” like pharmacies. In this way, the president said that Americans will be able to get discounts from the manufacturer that they would otherwise never see. “Some very rich people are not going to like me very much today, I can tell you,” the president joked.
The last of Trump’s executive orders will help out Americans who use insulin and EpiPens. Here, under the new order, federal community health centers will be required to pass along discounts they receive from prescription drug manufacturers to the customer. Trump explained:
These providers should not be receiving discounts for themselves while charging their poorest patients massive, full prices. Under this order, the price of insulin for affected patients will come down to just pennies a day — pennies a day from numbers that you weren’t even able to think about. It’s a massive cost savings.
President Trump, in his announcement, said that although he has signed the executive orders, the “favored nations” order will not go into effect until the end of August.
The delay is to give all those affected by the order a chance to adjust for their implementation. Trump said that he plans to meet with major players in the pharmaceutical industry next week to discuss options.
But, it certainly looks like when these orders do go into effect they are going to be a big health care win for the American people.