- Reuters/Jonathan Ernst
President Donald Trump wants to slip drug pricing into the GOP Obamacare replacement plan.
“We’re just adding that to the bill. I said we gotta add that to the bill,” Trump said at a speech on Monday. “We’re trying to add it to this bill, but if we can’t we’re going to have it right after.”
As it stands right now, the American Health Care Act does not bring up the issue of prescription drug prices. But the issue is on the president’s mind.
“Some people think it’s just as important as healthcare. The cost of medicine in this country is outrageous – many times higher than in some countries in Europe and elsewhere,” Trump said on Monday. “Why? Same pill, same manufacturer. Identical. And it’s many times higher in the United States.”
He then speculated that campaign contributions played a role in the high prices the US pays. “Who knows? But somebody’s getting very rich,” he said.
“We’re going to bring it down, we’re going to have a great competitive bidding process. Medicine prices will becoming way down, way way way down. And that’s going to happen fast.”
Trump has been speaking about drug prices since December, specifically addressing the rising costs of prescription drugs that consumers have been facing in the last few years.
- At a January news conference, Trump said drugmakers are “getting away with murder,” and expressed an interest in negotiating drug prices, something the government isn’t allowed to do for Medicare and Medicaid. “We’re the largest buyer of drugs in the world and yet we don’t bid properly,” he said at the time. “We’re going to start bidding and we’re going to save billions of dollars over a period of time.” Trump met with representatives from the industry at the end of January, where he called for faster regulatory review by the FDA and bringing jobs back to the US, but focused less on negotiating drug prices Trump reiterated his interest in bringing down drug prices at the joint session of Congress on February 28, telling Congress he wants to “work to bring down the artificially high price of drugs … immediately.” And in March, Trump tweeted that he’s working on “a new system where there will be competition in the drug industry.” Later that week, the president met with Reps. Elijah Cummings and Peter Welch, along with Johns Hopkins president Dr. Redonda Miller, to talk about drug pricing, where the representatives showed Trump a bill that would allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices. The government currently can’t negotiate prices for drugs that are part of Medicare’s Part D program.