President Donald Trump is set to deliver remarks and sign a series of executive orders on lowering drug prices at 3:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, according to his schedule issued by the White House on July 23.
While it is unclear what exactly will be included in the order, a source told The Hill that it is likely to involve “a proposal to reduce some U.S. drug prices by tying them to the lower prices paid in other countries.”
When asked about the plans, White House spokesman Judd Deere declined to discuss specifics but said that the President “continues to explore any and all options that will deliver lower cost drugs, while ensuring we have access to the most innovative vaccines and therapeutics in the world.”
Drug prices have been and continue to be a significant concern for many voters, and Trump had promised to tackle the issue during his first term in office.
“One of my greatest priorities is to reduce the price of prescription drugs. In many other countries, these drugs cost far less than what we pay in the United States,” Trump said in his first State of the Union address in 2017. “That is why I have directed my Administration to make fixing the injustice of high drug prices one of our top priorities. Prices will come down.”
According to Politico, the orders are likely to tell Medicare regulators to eliminate rebates that drugmakers pay to pharmacy benefit managers.
In addition to the rebate rule, other policies include a demand to reduce Medicare’s drug payments by attempting to ensure the U.S. doesn’t pay more than any other county, an order aimed at hospitals that receive steeply discounted medications under the government’s drug discount program known as 340B, and encouraging the domestic manufacturing of drugs.
Earlier this month, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told Fox Business that the president was planning to enact “executive orders that will actually make a big difference,” specifically ones designed to lower prescription drug prices.
“We’re talking about executive orders that will actually make a big difference, lowering prescription drug prices,” Meadows said. “This president is going to do three different executive orders that will substantially make sure that the average American gets to pay less for their prescription drugs.”
The executive order would come just months before the crucial 2020 presidential election and at a time where numerous pharmaceutical companies are working to create a vaccine for the current CCP virus pandemic, commonly referred to as coronavirus.
Companies such as Pfizer, Novavax Inc, Moderna, and AstraZeneca, are currently performing clinical trials on potential vaccines. If successful, the vaccine would need to be approved as safe and effective by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before being distributed to millions of Americans.
More than 4 million Americans have been infected by the new coronavirus and at least 142,000 have died from COVID-19, the disease it causes, according to Johns Hopkins, which is tracking the pandemic.