Trump Offers Incentives for Drug Companies To Bring Down Prices

President Trump has the FDA in his sights, he told leaders of the pharmaceutical industry yesterday, but he also has high drug prices in his sights, as well. “The U.S. drug companies have produced extraordinary results for our country, but the pricing has been astronomical,” Trump said, according to the New York Times. “We have to get prices down for a lot of reasons.”

The president also acknowledged the regulatory and bureaucratic hurdles that drugmakers face, pointing out the absurdity of the process and eliciting laughs from the leaders of Novartis, Eli Lilly, Merck, and Johnson & Johnson. “You can’t get approval for the plant, and you can’t get approval for the drug; other than that, you’re doing fantastic,” Trump said, according to the Times.

He added later, apparently in reference to how long it takes to develop a drug and bring it to market: “You’re going to get your products—either approved or not approved—but it’s going to be a quick process. It’s not going to take 15 years.”

Drug industry leaders welcomed Trump’s promise to cut taxes and remove regulatory burdens, but that did not go over so well with industry watchdogs. Michael Carome, director of Public Citizen’s health research group, tells the New York Times that, “Trump’s horrifying proposal reflects utter ignorance about the FDA’s essential role in protecting public health and once again demonstrates his commitment to placing corporate profits above protecting the safety of the American people.”

Diana Zuckerman, president of the National Center for Health Research, tells the Times that, “Streamlining drug approvals sounds good, but the agency has already weakened approval standards and patients are paying the price — hugely expensive drugs that don’t even work.”

Source: New York Times