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WASHINGTON — President Trump on Friday said his administration would soon issue an executive order mandating a “favored nations” policy in which U.S. payments for drugs are capped at the lowest price paid by either a manufacturer or a developed country.

“Why should other nations — like Canada — but why should other nations pay much less than us?” Trump asked. “We’re working on a favored nations law where we pay whatever the lowest nation’s price is.”


The phrase “favored nations” is sometimes used in contracts to ensure that a purchaser of a good or service receives terms at least as favorable as any other purchaser. In other words, the clauses ensure no one else gets a better deal than the “favored nation.”

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  • America can make our own drugs most drug ingredients come from India and China which are ripping us off and other nations too. Insulin once was cheap now it is 2000 a month for quik Pen outrageous. As we age our drug list grow and big pharma is destroying what seniors can live on monthly by creating such expensive Eliquis and other drugs. Retirees have to choose between what drugs to forego, what groceries to not consume and how to live mortgage free, and no smart phones. It just slays me that I see illegals carrying smart phones I know how expensive a plan is and the cost of the phone. Many seniors are going without proper medications, cable companies, even groceries just to have meds each month. Bring back more affordable manufacturing pharma in America.

  • Read Marcia Angell’s (former Editor of NEJM) book on the Pharma industry! They include cost of ADVERTISING in their R&D “budgets”. Basic research is paid by NIH, so the American People own the right to the original discoveries. The TRUE “R&D” leading to a marketable drug then follows, including massive advertising to consumers (totally inappropriate for prescription drugs which need a doc/NP/PA evaluation to be prescribed, not a TV viewer!! PROOF that cost has no bearing on drug prices is the absurd extreme increase in price for insulin, an old drug whose costs to produce have dropped dramatically over its decades of use. The Opiod industry is getting its due reward, at last, in court, but the abuse of the American consumer in the many other pharmaceuticals continues apace. This is people’s LIVES, folks, and deserves real action by Congress and the President.

    • While I agree that there’s a whole lot wrong with advertising in the pharma industry- and we should just ban advertising for prescription drugs entirely, as most other countries do- many companies also do basic R&D that’s not paid for by the NIH, and they also have to fund clinical trials, which are incredibly expensive.

  • Forty years as a Health Care Professional gave meaning to my life and giving of my skills to my practice. Five years beyond enveloped my work in recognition of insurance industry dominance of health practices, restrictions upon practice and the institutional development of America’s drug dependencies. The pharma industry, while making tremendous contributions, has simply replaced the M.O. of the corner drug dealer. So I left health care practice.

  • Such a lame-brained scheme, useful only for political consumption, would not lower the co-pay of a single patient for a single pill by one penny. All this shows is that the President doesn’t have a clue as to how the drug pricing ecosystem works. Will we now all pay higher prices for generic drugs to match the prices of “most favored” nations?

  • Drugs cost a lot to develop and one reason is FDA, yep the government but incremental expense of manufacturing the drug often is negligible. It is stupid to say that US consumers should pay what people in Egypt pay, maybe a more reasonable formula would be to index the price to GDP per capita. You also have to factor in that drug companies employ people here and a lot of what they pay recycles back to government in terms of income tax. One reason for explosion in medical cost is the demand brought about by baby boomers aging. Shove the executive order, watch out not to destroy a vibrant biotech industry, to get cure for so many diseases you need to spend.

    • This may be the most informed and insightful comment I’ve read on Stat. In fact, more informed and insightful to the full picture than what most STAT writers describe or understand (or what they DECIDE to write/cover because of some partisan/political/PR/media (Boston Globe complex…)

    • So much bullshit in your comment. US prices is still many many times more expensive than comparable western countries. They also need to go through the country’s (or EU’s) equivalent of FDA to get approval, so that is not something that is a US-only expense.

  • I’m a little confused. President Trump made a speech not to long ago in the
    Rose Garden of the White House along with Alex Azar by his side stating that
    the “Middlemen” ( The PBM’s) are making billions in profits and that this was going to stop. Now you never hear him saying anything about this. Both of these
    top legislators knows that the PBM’s are the problem, yet there’s not a word.
    I guess PCMA’s deep pockets got to these guys too !!!

    • Trump does whatever he thinks will portray him in the best light. This has been his MO for the last 3 years.

      If we have another republican president, I hope that it isn’t Trump. Though it might not make a difference. So many republican have gone more and more to the far right.

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