Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar put countries with socialized medicine on notice: Americans will no longer be subsidizing their cheap prescription drugs.
One of President Donald Trump’s key health care focuses has been on lowering the costs of prescription drugs. Although the gridlock between House Democrats and Senate Republicans has made legislation unlikely, Trump has still managed to have some success in lowering the costs of drugs.
For the first time in 47 years, prescription drug prices dropped by a modest 1.2% in the United States. Still, those in countries with socialized medicine have seen lower drug prices. It’s become a common practice for Americans to cross the border to get a cheaper drug from Canada.
But that could soon change.
Azar noted that the Trump administration is putting forward an effort to force pharmaceutical companies to sell drugs in the U.S. for the same prices they are selling internationally. He claimed that the Americans paying high prices have been subsidizing drugs internationally, giving socialist countries in Europe a better deal.
During an interview on “Varney and Co.” on Fox Business, Azar announced that Trump is working to make this change.
Watch Azar’s comments:
“We’re going to come up with a system to allow importation of drugs that’s safe and effective. The president’s made it clear we’re gonna end foreign free-riding. It is time that the American senior and American patient stops overpaying for drugs, to prop up and subsidize the socialist health care systems of Europe. We are footing the bill for them. We are supporting their socialist systems.”
Trump addressed his plan during a press gaggle last week, telling reporters:
“As you know for years and years other nations pay less for drugs than we do. We’re working on a favored nations clause, where we pay whatever the lowest nation’s price is. Why should other nations — like Canada — why should other nations pay less than us?”
The president’s plan will likely include a required pricing index for prescription drug prices internationally. For now, it looks as though the pricing index would only be a requirement if the drug is associated with Medicare payments. It would likely take congressional action to enforce this policy for every drug transaction in the U.S.