the United States has paid exorbitantly higher prices for prescription drugs than other countries. Both Republicans and Democrats have talked about the skyrocketing cost of medicine for American patients, especially senior citizens.
But our leaders in Washington never did anything about it. Until now.
The Trump Administration’s new plan, announced this morning, will allow companies to import drugs sold in other countries—including Canada—to save Americans money. Manufacturers can now bring the lower-cost versions of drugs they sell abroad to the United States, so long as the FDA verifies the medicines are identical and meet safety standards.
Foreign countries buy drugs at substantially lower prices, meaning American patients subsidize the cost of the expensive drug research and development for the rest of the world. Many times, medicines that cost hundreds of dollars in the U.S. cost as little as a few dollars overseas. Time and time again, our own citizens get the worst deal.
This terrible system doesn’t only hurt patients. It costs our taxpayers billions. For example, one medication that helps prevent blindness costs Medicare more than $1 billion a year. It would cost only $187 million if we paid the prices that other countries pay.
Big Pharma doesn’t want that to change, but “President Trump listened to the American people,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says. “We heard about the pain Americans are feeling at the pharmacy counter, we learned that this was impacting Americans’ health, and we’re taking action.”
Today’s announcement builds on President Trump’s other efforts to make medicine affordable for all Americans. Following the release of the President’s blueprint to lower prescription drug costs last year, December 2018 marked the first time in 46 years that the official government measure of inflation in drug prices dropped.
More help is on the way—“to end foreign freeloading and put American patients first,” Secretary Azar says.
The details: Safely importing prescription drugs to lower costs for Americans
Sec. Azar and Joe Grogan: “How Team Trump Is Keeping Drug Prices Down”