President Trump said Friday that he is preparing to issue an executive order to reduce prescription drug prices by requiring that the United States government does not pay more than the lowest price paid by another country.
“We’re going to be announcing something very shortly, a favored-nations clause,” Trump told reporters. “As you know for years and years, other nations paid less for drugs than we do, sometimes by 60, 70%. We’re going to be, and we’re working on it right now, we’re working on a favored-nations clause, where we pay whatever the lowest nation’s price is.”
Health care experts weren’t immediately clear on what Trump was referring to, but two people familiar with White House planning told The Wall Street Journal they thought the president was talking about a proposal issued by the White House last fall to tie certain Medicare Part B drug costs to an international price index.
“The price index idea, which the pharmaceutical industry and many medical providers have vigorously opposed, is still under review from the Office of Management and Budget and may begin as a five-year pilot program next year,” The New York Times’s Margot Sanger-Katz explained. “But it would apply to only a small subset of the drug market, and would not affect the prices paid for more typical prescription drugs that are sold at retail pharmacies. An executive order on drug prices would most likely have no force of law on its own, but could direct the Department of Health and Human Services to pursue or expand this approach.”