Pharma executives got their wish for an early meeting with President Trump Tuesday, 1/31, a couple of weeks after he accused the industry of “getting away with murder” on drug pricing.
“We have to get prices down for a lot of reasons. We have no choice,” Trump told the pharma pack, which included Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) CEO Stephen Ubl, and the head of Novartis, Merck & Co, Eli Lilly, and Celgene.
Too many pharma companies are making medicines overseas – which he blamed on regulation, and overseas “money supply and devaluation”. Also in Trump’s sights is what he described as “global freeloading” – foreign price controls on drugs that reduce the resources of US pharma companies for R&D. Other countries should “pay their fair share for US-manufactured drugs”, he asserted.
Trump counterbalanced the tough talk by reiterating his pledge to reform the regulatory process so that new medicines can be approved much more quickly, and changing the circumstances in which experimental drugs can be used in patients. In particular, he said it should be easier to test new drugs in terminal patients.
The promise of looser regulation may appear to play to the pharma companies, but in reality the industry has been alarmed by the initial moves in this area – including an executive order this week that calls for federal agencies to withdraw two regulations for every new regulation they introduce.
Adding that to a second order implementing a federal hiring freeze – and a lack of detail in both cases – and serious questions are being raised about the ability of the FDA to function effectively. In particular, there is concern that the orders could effectively stop the 21st Century Cures Act – one of the last actions of the Obama administration and widely welcomed by industry – in its tracks. This Act will help to quicken getting new
Why It’s Hot
Trump is making changes quickly… and this could effect our pharma clients and in turn, us. While lowering the prices of drugs could be a great step in the right direction for consumers (more people would have access to the drugs they need), this could in turn mean a significant loss of profits for pharma companies (though, the volume they could make up may balance things). Less profits=less advertising dollars (but that’s ok).
We should all just be aware of the looser regulations- depending on how this goes and what gets cut, this could potentially mean that there could be less safety requirements to get a drug passed, which is kind of scary! We need to be informed about what we put into our bodies.