Jul 24, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump signs executive orders claiming lower drug prices

Donald trump

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

President Trump on Friday signed executive orders that revive several of the administration's previous drug pricing ideas — including attempts to require Medicare to pay no more for drugs than the lowest prices paid by other countries and changing how drug rebates work within industry middlemen.

Reality check: The Trump administration has not enacted any major policies on drug prices. Today's executive orders on their own have limited authority and could take a long time to go into effect, if they go into effect at all.

The big picture: A lower drug pricing index and Canadian drug importation have been longstanding initiatives within the Trump administration. Together, all four executive orders would:

  • Link Medicare payments to drug prices in foreign countries.
  • Lower the price of insulin and Epi-Pens provided at hospitals from a current drug discount program.
  • Create a way for Americans to purchase cheaper prescription drugs imported from Canada.
  • Give patients the drug rebates that are obtained by pharmacy benefit managers, a proposal that the administration already killed in 2019.
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