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President Trump signs 4 executive orders, aimed at lowering prescription drug costs

President Trump expected to sign executive orders Friday on drug pricing
Posted at 9:19 AM, Jul 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-24 16:31:03-04

WASHINGTON - President Trump signed 4 executive orders Friday afternoon which all aim to lower the cost of prescription drugs for Americans.

The first executive order will require medical facilities to pass along discounts they receive on insulin and EpiPens to consumers. The second order will allow for the importation of prescription drugs from Canada and other countries.

The third order aims to eliminate the "middle man" in prescription drug sales. "Nobody even knows who they are. But the middle men are making a fortune,” President Trump said Friday.

The fourth executive order strives to bring Medicare’s drug prices more in-line with prices in other countries.

Florida's Governor, Ron DeSantis, joined the press conference, along with administration representatives and Americans who have diabetes and other medical conditions.

During Friday's event, President Trump said he and his administration has secured 90 percent of the world's supply of remdesivir, which has proven to be a reliable treatment option for Covid-19. These efforts were initially announced in early July by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Reducing drug prices has been an ongoing effort of the Trump administration. In 2018, the president signed two pieces of legislation into law on Wednesday that aimed to inform consumers about drug prices.

Both measures, the Know the Lowest Price Act and the Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act, aim to end the drug industry's so-called gag orders of pharmacists, which prevent them from discussing cheaper price options with consumers.

In 2019, A federal judge nixed a regulation that was a centerpiece of the Trump administration's efforts to bring down drug prices.

US District Judge Amit Mehta of the District of Columbia vacated the Department of Health and Human Services' rule that would have required drug makers to include their list prices in TV ads, saying the agency had overstepped its authority.

"No matter how vexing the problem of spiraling drug costs may be, HHS cannot do more than what Congress has authorized," Mehta wrote at the time of the ruling in July 2019. "The responsibility rests with Congress to act in the first instance."

President Donald Trump has been unable to land the big deal with Congress to curb drug costs.

Democrats, including Joe Biden, are pushing a much more ambitious plan to empower Medicare to negotiate prices.

Friday's orders come at a time when the pharmaceutical industry is racing to create a Covid-19 vaccine.