Trump seeks lower drug prices, less regulation

US President Donald Trump on Tuesday said that the prices for prescription medicines have been "astronomical" and will begin efforts to reduce them. Speaking at a meeting with executives from a number of drugmakers, as well as the head of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), Trump remarked "you folks have done a very great job over the years but we have to get the prices down."

Trump also said that he would cut regulations in an attempt to get new medicines to market faster. "We're going to streamline [the] FDA; we have a fantastic person" that will be announced to lead the agency soon, Trump added. The President stated it is "disgraceful" that companies spend $2 billion and require 15 years on average to win regulatory clearance. "You're going to get your prices either approved, or not approved," Trump commented, adding "but it's going to be a quick process. It's not going to take 15 years." 

Trump also urged drugmakers to manufacture their products domestically. "I want you to move your companies back to the [US]", Trump said, adding "I want you to manufacture in the [US]" and promised to take steps to ensure that "foreign countries pay their fair share." Trump stated "foreign price controls reduce the resources of American drug companies to finance drug and R&D innovation," continuing "I think you people know very well, it's very unfair to this country." 

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Trump's comments come after he suggested that drugmakers could be forced to bid for government business and argued the companies are "getting away with murder." Later, PhRMA unveiled plans for an advertising campaign seeking to highlight scientific advances and the pharmaceutical industry's role in combating public health problems. The President has also called on Congress to immediately repeal the Affordable Healthcare Act and quickly move to replace the legislation. Trump recently drafted an executive order instructing government agencies to scale back much of the law.  

Commenting on Tuesday's meeting, Merck & Co. CEO Kenneth Frazier said that it was "very constructive", adding that Trump was "very much focused" on finding ways to provide patients with more options. Meanwhile, Amgen CEO Robert Bradway reportedly told the US President that his company was planning to add 1600 jobs in the country this year.

For related analysis, read ViewPoints: The three arenas industry must find constructive compromise with Trump, according to buysider.

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