President Donald Trump is taking on big pharmaceutical companies to lower the cost of drugs for all Americans.
In a White House meeting with Health Secretary Alex Azar on Thursday, President Trump announced he was proud to be taking on the drug companies, saying he is not afraid of their lack of economic support.
“I don’t need their money,” he said. “They don’t like me too much right now.”
Azar added that the president is “adamant about lowering drug prices.”
In May, President Trump first announced his plan to restructure the pricing system of how the drug companies sell their products. That plan included restricting the payment of rebates, which is commonly cited as a major reason for high drug prices.
President Trump also said he intends to lower the amount of time it would take for certain drugs to be approved, and that many more drugs would be available over the counter rather than through a pharmacist.
During the president’s 2016 campaign, he said he was in favor of allowing government intervention in negotiating drug prices through Medicare. Health Secretary Azar dismissed that plan, saying it might result in rationing of drugs. This got Democrats angry.
But Azar assured the public, saying he is not counting on the drug companies to reform automatically by themselves.
“Their voluntary actions are not what we’re counting on,” he said in July. “We are driving swift, firm regulatory action, legislative action, that’s going to create every incentive to bring prices down.”
Time will tell whether the Trump administration can deliver on this promise and lower drug prices his way instead of the way Democrats propose.