Trump signs orders to lower drug prices, including by importing from Canada

U.S. President Donald Trump announced on Friday he was signing four executive orders aiming at lowering prices that Americans pay for prescription drugs as he faces an uphill re-election battle and criticism over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

One order would allow for the legal importation of cheaper prescription drugs from countries like Canada, while another would require discounts from drug companies now captured by middlemen to be passed on to patients, Trump said.

Read more: Canadian prescription drug prices come under scrutiny of U.S. trade representative

Another measure seeks to lower insulin costs while a fourth, which might not be needed if talks with drug companies are successful, would require Medicare to purchase drugs at the same price that other countries pay, Trump said.

Executives of top drug companies have requested a meeting to discuss how they can lower drug prices, the president added.

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Trump, under fire for surging coronavirus cases in the United States and beset by decreasing poll numbers ahead of Nov. 3 elections, had previously asked Congress to rein in drug costs.

Read more: Canada vows to ‘protect’ drug supplies after Trump proposes importing medication

Drugmakers often negotiate rebates or discounts on their list prices in exchange for favourable treatment from insurers and other healthcare payers.

As a result, insurers and covered patients rarely pay the full list price of a drug.

© 2020 Reuters

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