Trump Executive Orders Will Allow Drug Imports From Canada

Mish

Trump aims to reduce the price of drugs by allowing imports from Canada.

“We will finally allow the safe and legal importation of prescription drugs from Canada and other countries where the price for the identical drug is incredibly lowered,” said Trump at a press conference.

In the video. Trump brags his executive orders will allow something that other presidents "promised for decades and decades".

OK, but why nearly four years into your presidency? 

The Wall Street Journal reports Trump Signs Executive Orders Aimed at Reducing Drug Prices.

One of the executive orders focuses on pegging the cost of drugs in the U.S. to lower drug prices overseas, and another concerns speeding imports of drugs from Canada. The pharmaceutical industry and some Republicans have criticized the first order, saying it amounts to price controls, while opponents of the second initiative say it raises questions about product safety.

Another would require community health centers to pass on negotiated discounts on insulin and epinephrine-injector devices to consumers. And a fourth would attempt to undercut “middlemen” whom Mr. Trump described as profiting from deals with drugmakers and don’t pass along discounts to consumers.

“We’re standing up to the lobbyists and special interests and fighting back against a rigged system,” said Mr. Trump, who also said he would push for drugs to be purchased at the same prices offered to other countries.

Will the orders do any good?

Pharmaceutical industry groups have argued the administration’s plan could threaten patient safety by letting in substandard or counterfeit drugs. Canadian officials have also expressed concern over the move, saying they don’t want the U.S. raiding their medicine supply.

 Drugmakers have said it would reduce investment in research and that it wouldn’t work for drugs that are developed but not yet sold overseas.

Correct Action, Questionable Motives

Trump was correct to act even if his motive is questionable. The US pays the highest drug prices in the world. US drugs should not be cheaper in Canada, Mexico, or Europe than here.

I fail to see why Medicare, which can easily buy in bulk, should pay more than the lowest global price available.

If there are patient safety issues, then what about drugs sold in Canada?

People should not have to drive or fly over the border to get safe drugs at reasonable prices. 

Patents ought to expire earlier as well. 

Mr. Trump said he would meet Tuesday with drug executives to hear their proposals on how to cut costs. “Maybe they have an idea that’s good, but it’s got to be very substantial.”

I don't care about motives, I care about policies and actions. These efforts make sense. 

Mish

Comments (57)
No. 1-30
Stuki
Stuki

Go Trump!

Maybe he has finally come around to recognizing that persistently doing the wrong thing, isn't doing his poll numbers any favors. So he's trying to something useful for a change, to see how that works.

Augustthegreat
Augustthegreat

It never make sense that Americans pay more than Canadians or Europeans, for the same drugs. Only competition will do the job.

tokidoki
tokidoki

Finally, a policy that most of us can get behind. This could simply a campaign ploy though. Promise the moon, and once reelected forget that Canada even exists.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Realist
Realist

The US has a population 9 times that of Canada. How much extra supply of various medications could Canada have? And if they don’t have much to spare, would or could Canada move to block sending their supplies to the US. Also, why are pharmaceuticals cheaper outside the US?

gregggg
gregggg

Take note: The new sought after covid 19 vaccine seems out of this picture. The vaccine industry is separate from the pharmaceutical industry in that the way of patient/industry relationship is done by arbitration with preset dollar amounts in damage awards. This is the area of Pharma he neglected. Let's ask Trump: Expect crickets.

Dodge Demon
Dodge Demon

Only 3.5 years late. Denninger has mentioned many times that CANDIDATE Trump had this on his campaign website and the morning after the election everything healthcare/pharma reform related disappeared. Apparently ‘our heroes’ in the healthcare swamp got to him. I’d bet there is some sort of deal behind the scenes.

Casual_Observer
Casual_Observer

Given its Trump it will end up with higher prices and less important medicines.

Cowpoke
Cowpoke

I have been importing inhalers from off shore for a few years. Was Illegal but very easy to do. Now even better

KidHorn
KidHorn

My wife used to take a chemo pill. 30 pills cost $15k in the US. In India, the exact same bottle cost $1200 USD.

Trump tried to lower prescription drug costs early in his term, but was shot down in congress. The pharmaceutical industry owns congress. Both sides of the aisle.

Curious-Cat
Curious-Cat

The reason drugs are cheaper in some other countries is that they price cap and may also ration use. What US is unwilling to do. This change will not work in the way Trump thinks.

QTPie
QTPie

Stupid solution.

Instead of “free-riding” off of other wealthy nations’ universal healthcare coverage schemes by importing drugs from them, we should import the best ideas from them regarding most efficient ways to provide universal coverage in America, to include access to reasonably priced medications that are available domestically.

TeleAllende
TeleAllende

@QTPie Agreed, but allowing imports is a step in the right direction.

SHOfan
SHOfan

"OK, but why nearly four years into your presidency?"

OK, but if it is really this easy, why didn't Obama do this in his 8 years prior to Trump.

Maybe there are many more problems that could be solved by simply writing an executive order. Trump may have shown us a way to get around the lethargy of congress. Pressure the president to solve it.

Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett

A Start

KansasDog
KansasDog

Asides election BS, for millions this is a collapse. Losing jobs, homes, and healthcare. Now they can buy required scripts for less if they can afford them to begin with. I agree with doing this but the real motive is just an admission that we're talking another step or two downward. If not 3 or 4.

WildBull
WildBull

This is an awesome poke in the eye to big pharma and the FDA and Congress that have colluded to keep drug costs high. The question is not should we allow imports, but why is the US drug market so warped by government regulation. Go Trump, for whatever motive.

njbr
njbr

Some flies in the ointment...

Trump backed away Friday from implementing a sweeping policy that would revive a long-stalled plan to cap U.S. drug prices based on what drug makers charge in foreign countries. Instead, he announced a one-month ultimatum for drug manufacturers to propose alternative plans to reduce drug prices.

“We’re going to hold that until August 24, hoping that the pharmaceutical companies will come up with something that will substantially reduce drug prices,” Trump said. “The clock starts right now.”

A second order issued Friday revives a previously abandoned plan that would eliminate the rebates drug makers pay to insurers. But it remains to be seen if the rebate rule will ever truly be implemented: The executive order released by White House includes a caveat that the plan cannot be implemented if it will raise premiums. The government’s own actuaries have estimated that the rebate rule would increase premiums by up to 25 percent.

It does appear, however, that the Trump administration is expanding its efforts to allow Americans to import medicines. Health Secretary Alex Azar told reporters Friday that the administration was now allowing personal importation, a phrase used to describe when individual consumers buy drugs from other countries. The executive order on importation appears to back up Azar’s comments. The order says HHS will facilitate “grants to individuals of waivers of the prohibition of importation of prescription drugs.”

The fourth order would force certain health centers to pass negotiated discounts on insulin and EpiPens to patients.

It’s unclear whether the effort to make progress on drug pricing will pay off, given that Trump can’t immediately enact any of the policies. Rather, the orders direct his administration to begin the normal, notoriously slow regulatory processes needed to reform the existing system. The administration will have to speed through that process to formalize any of the policies before November.

Azar, however, supplied little detail as to the timetable for implementing Trump’s announcements and how the administration would proceed.

“Today’s executive order makes clear that these are the policies of this administration,” Azar said. “These will happen; [Trump] has ordered them to happen.”

Even if the administration is successful in finalizing any of its plans before the election, they’re all likely to be challenged in court. The drug industry has already warned the Trump administration that they believe both the administration’s original importation plan and its international pricing plan are unconstitutional.

The industry will have an opportunity to respond directly to the plans next week. Trump announced he would welcome a group of pharmaceutical executives to the White House on Tuesday to discuss alternatives to his administration’s proposals, particularly the international pricing scheme.

njbr
njbr

This article is from 2003!!!

How is the "personal re-importation" any different now than then??

....But the disappointment, and for some the disgust, at having to spend two days on a bus to buy drugs was clear. The trip across northern Minnesota offered reminders of economic turmoil--the troubled mining industry and the upheaval involving paper mills. It provoked some talk about Congress promptly acting on President Bush's request for $87 billion for Iraq and stalling on prescription drug reform.

Melvyn Pylka said he has grown tired of "seeing Wilford Brimley every 15 minutes on TV," pitching prescription drugs. "You watch the 5:30 news, and all you see is drug ads. And pick up Reader's Digest--it's loaded with drug ads," Pylka said.

The prescription drug industry spent $2.6 billion on advertising last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR, and spent $1.6 billion through June of this year. That's less than what the auto companies spend but close to what the motion picture industry and computer-makers shell out. The September issue of Reader's Digest contains 208 pages, 31 of which promote prescription drugs.

The Minnesota Senior Federation has organized six trips to Winnipeg this year. One more is scheduled for late October. The cost of the trips--the bus charter, meals for seniors and hotel accommodations--are paid by U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton (D-Minn.). Seniors with U.S. prescriptions are examined by Dr. Craig Hildahl, a Winnipeg family practice physician, who rewrites the prescriptions so they can be submitted to a Canadian pharmacy.

Seniors can get a three-month supply, which can be renewed by telephone or the Internet three times.

"To me, this does not ring to the American way," said Hildahl, who has been treating Americans for three years. "We need to have a solution in the U.S. so seniors don't have to come here. They [Congress] are spending too much time on reimportation laws when they need to deal with the issue of why prices are too high, what drives them up and how do we eliminate that cost."

Peter Wyckoff, the executive director of the Minnesota Senior Federation Metropolitan Region, in St. Paul, said the issue goes beyond seniors to "what all Americans pay for prescription drugs, compared to world prices. Right now, seniors are paying the hardest part."

PecuniaNonOlet
PecuniaNonOlet

Proof a broken clock can be right once in a while...

RobinBanks
RobinBanks

He needs to talk to UK generic manufacturers. I know one generic company that exports a lot of its production to Africa because the margins are better than supplying the NHS.

sunny129
sunny129

I fail to see why Medicare, which can easily buy in bulk, should pay more than the lowest global price available'

Note that VA admin is allowed to bargain with Big Pharma but NOT Medicare although both are Govt institutions! DUBYA made a specific law inorder to curry favor with Big Pharma!

awc13
awc13

"I fail to see why Medicare, which can easily buy in bulk, should pay more than the lowest global price available."

Mish, by being able to charge higher prices in the USA, drug companies can offset the low prices other countries have forced onto them. just like how private insurance/pay offsets the low (sometimes at a loss) prices for medicare medical fees.

Why would drug companies accept such low negotiated prices in other countries? because other countries say "charge us this. if you don't, we will ignore your patent and manufacture it ourselves and sell it around the world"

and this is why canada is so concerned. they know their drug costs are being subsidized by consumers in America. when the subsidizing goes away the drug companies will either go out of business or have to raise prices or they will have to follow through on manufacturing it themselves (which costs $$$$ and we all know how well government does when they manufacture stuff, both quality, price and availability suck)

awc13
awc13

always an orange man bad angle.

he is doing the right thing and we speculate about his reasons. his reason is to get re-elected. just try to find someone in office who doesn't have the same motivation.

awc13
awc13

no worries, we will elect the puppet biden and his communist puppet masters will nationalize the drug industry. then prices will be low for the drugs that won't be available to the masses, only to the politically connected

at least the bad orange man will be gone!

tokidoki
tokidoki

We know a lot of drugs come from China. Could it be that the Chinese will soon stop exporting medicines to the US?

Rachael F-F
Rachael F-F

From a consumer perspective, this makes a lot of sense. One of the benefits we have in the UK to help lower the cost of drugs is NICE buying them on behalf of the entire country's healthcare system. It has huge purchasing power. The downside of course is that not everybody gets what they need - they only get whats available. With the size of the US market, you have the potential to get the best of both worlds. It's good to see - potentially - better competition and more value for US citizens.

Mr. Purple
Mr. Purple

America First!

Or is it

I'll try to buy the senior vote!

GardenMaven
GardenMaven

Is this why we now have headlines in Canada about drug shortages? I'm an asthmatic and that is not good news for me if I need to get more steroid and Ventolin inhalers.

CCR
CCR

Importing antibiotics from China was all the political rage a few months back, guess we gonna double down on drug imports now. Reminds me of when the USPS was under political duress because of the annual 2b loss, that political fervor faded as well, USPS subsidies still continue. I will use cheapest prescriptions when and if needed and I still mail first class handwritten letters to family and friends. I guess the USPS is not really broke, unless you consider making money being broke. Big pharma must be broke, because they make too much money. For purple mountain majesties.........

inonothing
inonothing

How about allowing imports from Columbia?


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