President Donald Trump announced two new rules Friday that would lower the cost of prescription drugs for many Americans beginning Jan. 1, The Hill reported. But the rules may never be implemented because of challenges from the drug companies and possible opposition from a Biden administration.
One of the rules long advocated by Republicans is a “most favored nation” clause that limits the prices the U.S. pays to the highest prices paid by other developed countries.
Currently, U.S. consumers end up paying higher prices than other countries. This results in the U.S. subsidizing prescription drug costs in other countries, even similarly developed ones.
The other rule would require insurers and pharmacies to pass discounts onto consumers rather than keeping them to profit themselves or their employees. “Drug companies will no longer be able to cite their rebate contracts as an excuse to keep raising list prices,” HHS documentation on the rules states.
“We had to do it”
“The drug companies don’t like me too much. But we had to do it,” Trump said of the new policies at the White House on Friday. “I just hope they keep it. I hope they have the courage to keep it.”
Even if a Biden administration does let the rules stand, drug company lobbyists may pressure Congress to reverse them with legislation.
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America said in a statement that “all options to stop this reckless attack on the companies working around the clock to beat COVID-19″ are on the table, The Associated Press reported.
Since taking office Trump has argued that Medicare should negotiate drug prices to get a better deal for seniors.
“Until now Americans have often been charged more than twice as much for the exact same drug as other medically advanced countries,” Trump said in his remarks.
The rules are consistent with Trump’s other “America First” trade policies, which seek to gain an even footing for the U.S. in a climate in which other countries have often taken advantage of the United States’ position as a world superpower.
Democrats, particularly under former President Barack Obama, have taken a more globalist view that the U.S. should “spread its wealth around.”
Biden has not stated his position on the new rules or said whether he would keep them if he is inaugurated on Jan. 20.