Executive Order on Drug Prices Falls Short of Providing Patients Relief

Statement of Peter Maybarduk, Director, Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines Program

Note: President Donald Trump is scheduled to deliver remarks and sign executive orders on “lowering drug prices” at the White House today at 3 p.m. EDT. Reports indicate that the orders may include a “most favored nation” regulation similar to the International Price Index model previously proposed by the administration, which was intended to bring prices of some drugs for Medicare Part B more closely into line with those paid by other high-income countries. The orders also may include provisions related to drug importation and a new proposal involving distribution of certain medicines for free through 340B hospitals.

After more than three and a half years, and despite all the bombastic bluster, Trump has utterly failed to make any meaningful difference in the lives of people suffering as a result of prescription drug corporation price gouging.

There is very little chance any of these measures will be implemented this year. While some of these proposals could help a limited number of people access insulin or EpiPens, they are pathetically small compared to the massive executive power Trump could use to make medicine affordable and available for all, if he were willing to stand up to Big Pharma.

Instead of squandering his time in office, Trump should have used the bully pulpit to champion congressional proposals that would enable the U.S. government to “negotiate like crazy,” and leveraged existing authorities to take away monopoly control from pharma price gougers to obtain lower prices and provide patients relief.