Drug manufacturers of America and the Trump administration were scheduled to meet on Tuesday to discuss an executive order in an official meeting in the White House, which would help to link Medicare payments for certain medicines to lower the costs paid abroad. However, as per the five sources close to Politico, the White House meeting with high-level pharmaceutical executives and President Donald Trump has been called off. Three of the sources confirmed that the significant drug lobbies refused to send their members for the drug-pricing discussions after Trump issued executive orders on costs. Drug industry experts and some patient groups criticized the provision known as a most-favored-nation rule as it would eliminate innovation and reduce drug access. On Friday, Trump said that drugmakers would have 30 days to come up with a better option.
After getting conflicting reports from the White House on whether or not they would include the rule, multi-billion dollar drug lobbies PhRMA and BIO were hesitant to send their members for the discussion. While some pharmaceutical companies believed that the most-favored-nation rule had been dropped, others had no clarity regarding it. Sources also confirmed that the health officials of Trump’s administration were also surprised just before the meeting as it was utterly chaotic. Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), the group that represents many small biotechnology companies developing therapies, made it clear that the most-favored-nation rule would hit the company the hardest. With the rule, most physician-administered medicines related to cancer and arthritis infusions would take a huge hit.
While a White official said that they had been more than accommodating to schedule a meeting for pharma company executives, the working staff of those companies aren’t pleased with the administration. “The president’s plan to import policies from socialized healthcare systems abroad is interrupting our work on COVID-19 therapies. It’s directly shifting our focus away from the hard-working efforts we put into saving lives,” said a PhRMA spokesperson terming the White House talks as a distraction. “We are always willing to discuss ways to reduce costs for patients at the pharmacy counters in the US, but we oppose any policies that would allow foreign governments to decide the prices for medicines in our country,” the spokesperson concluded. The White House didn’t immediately respond to the issue.Dr. Dhillon Randeep
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