Trump administration talks progress, solutions to lowering prescription drug prices

Last year, President Donald Trump noted that he wanted to find a way to lower prescription drug prices for Americans, and reports Thursday noted that his administration has made progress on that front.

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar told the president Oct. 21 that the federal government’s efforts have led to “the largest decrease” in prescription drug prices “in 51 years,” The Epoch Times reported.

“We’ve had the third year in a row under President Trump’s leadership of historic levels of approving generic drugs. Those are the affordable alternatives to brand drugs,” Azar said.

“We’re approaching 3,000 generic drugs approved under your tenure,” he added during a Cabinet meeting.

“That led to—just in the first 18 months of your term—$26 billion of savings for people from those more affordable alternatives,” he said, adding that the prices of prescription drugs have seen the “largest decrease in 51 years … under the Labor Department’s inflation index,” said Azar.

In March, a  tracking poll on March 1 by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), a non-profit focusing on national health issues, found that a majority of Americans want the government to do something to help lower prescription drug prices.

To that end, the Trump administration is offering new proposals.

On Nov. 22, Trump said he and Azar would soon release a plan that will enable Florida and other states to import affordable drugs, the Epoch Times noted.

“SecAzar and I will soon release a plan to let Florida and other States import prescription drugs that are MUCH CHEAPER than what we have now! Hard-working Americans don’t deserve to pay such high prices for the drugs they need,” the president wrote in a Twitter post.

“We are fighting DAILY to make sure this HAPPENS.”

In an email to the news outlet, a spokesperson from HHS said, “The president and secretary are very much committed to implementing the Safe Importation Action Plan that was announced on July 31.”

The Safe Importation Plan (pdf), jointly published by HHS and the FDA would create two pathways to import drugs from abroad.

One way would allow importation from Canada, while the second pathway would authorize drug makers to import their own drugs using “a new National Drug Code (NDC) for those products, potentially allowing them to offer a lower price than what their current distribution contracts require.”

During the October Cabinet meeting, Azar said his department was working to import drugs from Canada so he could get the “same kind of deals for the American senior that other developed countries are getting.”

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