Trump’s four executive orders to lower drug prices: What to know

President Trump issued a handful of executive orders Friday that aim to lower prescription drug prices through a variety of methods, including allowing medications to be imported from other countries. “I’m signing four sweeping executive orders that will lead to a massive reduction in drugs costs,” Trump said during a press briefing at the White House. “[The measures] will completely restore the prescription drug market in terms of prices.” Trump claimed drug prices had fallen under his administration for the first time in more than five decades but added that he was determined to do more. One of the orders introduced Friday would deliver rebates from drug companies directly to patients for insulin and Epipens in a bid to prevent providers from pocketing the discounts themselves while charging low-income patients unaffordable prices. Trump said the price of insulin would come down to “pennies” per day. The second order would allow wholesalers and pharmacies to legally import prescription drugs from Canada and other countries, where the president has repeatedly alleged identical drugs are available at costs as much as 90 percent lower than in the U.S. The third order would bypass pharmacy benefit managers and other “middlemen” to deliver discounts for prescription drugs directly to patients. Trump said Friday that patients often never see these discounts from the manufacturer. A final “favored nations” policy would require Medicare to purchase drugs at the same prices paid by foreign countries, which Trump said will prevent the U.S. from continuing to subsidize the cost of research and development for the entire world. Medicare will leverage its purchasing power to negotiate prices – the goal would be to find a middle ground with other countries that allegedly pay less for the same prescription drugs. This order will not be signed until the end of August, which would give the country’s largest companies time to come up with alternative solutions.

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