U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday, May 30, that he expects drug companies to announce major drug price cuts in two weeks.
Voluntary Drops In Drug Prices
Trump made his remarks during a signing ceremony for a right-to-try drug bill that aims to make it easier for seriously ill people to try experimental treatments. He said that drug company executives he did not name would visit the White House to make the announcement.
"You're going to have some big news. I think we're going to have some of the big drug companies in two weeks said they're going to announce, because of what we did, they're going to announce voluntary massive drops in prices," Trump said.
It was not immediately clear which companies would slash prices and how the reductions would be made.
CNBC, which reached out to major drug companies for feedback on Trump's statement, said that Merck and Biogen said they are looking into it. Regeneron reportedly said that the company is not familiar with the plans and Gilead said no comment.
Health care lobbyists in Washington said that they were also surprised by the announcement and had no idea what the president was talking about.
Crack Down On High Cost Of Drugs
Amid growing criticisms over the high cost of drugs, some pharmaceutical companies pledged to voluntarily limit their annual price increase to less than 10 percent. Prior to this, many drugmakers raised prices on prescription medicines two times a year, increasing drug costs by over 10 percent.
Trump has vowed to crack down on the cost of medicines. Earlier this month, he issued a 44-page plan to lower drug prices. The plan includes requiring drug makers to post the prices of their products in their ads, and government-funded pilot programs finding new ways to hold drug costs.
High US Healthcare Cost Driven By Prescription Drugs
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in March showed that in 2016, the United States spent more on healthcare than other first world countries. One of the main reasons driving the healthcare cost in the country is brand name prescription drugs.
While individuals from other countries spend on average $749 on pharmaceuticals, Americans spend $1,443 per person, which is nearly double the average in other wealthy nations.
Despite massive spending for healthcare, the United States still has lower life expectancy, higher obesity rates, and higher maternal and infant death rates.
Photo: Chris Potter | Flickr