US: Trump signs orders to force lower prices for medications

President Donald Trump on Friday signed four executive orders aimed at lowering some prices that US citizens pay for prescription drugs that may have appeal as he faces an uphill re-election battle and criticism over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

At a White House ceremony, Trump laid out his plan to sign four executive orders regarding drug prices. One is about importation. The others would direct drugmaker rebates straight to patients and provide insulin and EpiPens at steep discounts to low-income people.

The fourth, which might not need to be implemented if negotiations with drug companies are successful, would require Medicare to buy drugs at the same price that other countries pay, Trump said.

Democrats are eager to draw a contrast between Trump’s orders and their sweeping plans to authorise Medicare to negotiate prices with pharmaceutical companies, an idea the president had backed as a candidate.

Consumers may not notice many immediate changes from the new orders, which must be carried out by the federal bureaucracy and could face court challenges.

Trump came into office complaining that pharmaceutical companies were “getting away with murder” and promising to bring them under control. Nearly four years later, things are much the same despite some recent moderation in price increases.

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