President Trump Turns Attention To Drug Manufacturing

At a White House meeting surrounded by aides, President Donald Trump talked to eight pharmaceutical company executives about ways to make the American drug manufacturing industry more competitive. The message to the pharmaceutical company executives was similar to one he delivered to the auto executives that met with him last week. He said he would slash regulations and make it easier for them to manufacture products in the United States.

President Trump vowed to speed up drug approvals at the Food and Drug Administration while reiterating his pledge to bring down drug costs. The President said, “We’re also going to be streamlining the process so that from your standpoint so that when you have a drug you can actually get it approved if it works, instead of waiting for many, many years.” The President said he plans to name an FDA commissioner who will be “streamlining” the agency.

President Trump also said that prices for drugs must come down. He said, “For Medicare, for Medicaid, we have to get prices way down, so that’s what we’re going to be talking about.” Medicare and Medicaid are some of the world’s biggest purchasers of health-care products and services and cover tens of millions of Americans.

He remarked that drugmakers need to face increased competition and bidding and said “I’ll oppose anything that makes it harder for smaller, younger companies to take the risk of bringing a product to a vibrantly competitive market.” Trump also said he plans to work on global trade and tax policy that could benefit U.S. drugmakers. He said trade policy will “prioritize that foreign countries pay their fair share for US manufactured drugs so our drug companies have greater financial resources to accelerate development of new cures.”

The White House meeting was attended by executives from Merck, Amgen, Johnson & Johnson, Celgene, Novartis and Eli Lilly, along with PhRMA CEO Stephen Ubl. House Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and Vice President Mike Pence also attended. The meeting was partially closed to the press.

Ubl stated after the meeting that he would work with the Trump administration to advance “market-based reforms.” In a statement, Ubl said, “We discussed many areas of common ground including: advancing stronger trade agreements to level the playing field with countries around the world; reforming our tax code to spur investment and job creation here in the United States; and removing outdated regulations that drive up costs and slow innovation.”