President Trump demands lower drug prices but vows to overhaul drug approvals process

Donald Trump at a White House meeting on 31 January 2017

President Donald Trump has told pharmaceutical company executives that they must reduce drug prices in the United States, but promised them he will streamline US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) processes to speed up new drug approvals. 

Prior to a closed-door meeting on 31 January 2017 at the White House, Washington DC, Trump said his administration would be “cutting regulations at a level that nobody’s seen before” and lowering taxes in order to accelerate drug approvals and encourage manufacture in the United States. 

The meeting was attended by major executives from Merck, Johnson & Johnson, Celgene, Amgen, Eli Lilly, as well as the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) trade lobbying group.

“We’re going to streamline the FDA,” said Trump, adding that he would soon be announcing a new leader to the agency. 

“You’re going to get your products either approved or not approved but it’s going to be a quick process,” he told attendees. “It’s not going to take 15 years… I think we’re going to make a tremendous difference to you.” 

He also spoke about plans to promote innovation in the pharmaceutical industry. “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 vowed to end what he called “global freeloading” by making sure foreign countries pay their “fair share” for drugs manufactured in the United States. 

During the portion of the meeting attended by the press, they welcomed the prospect of deregulation and tax cuts.

Also speaking at the meeting, Robert Bradway, president of biopharmaceutical company Amgen, confirmed plans to create extra 1,600 jobs at the California-based company.

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, February 2017, Vol 298, No 7898;298(7898):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2017.20202284

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