Updated: Aug 5, 2020
On July 24, 2020, President Donald Trump signed four executive orders on drug pricing, instructing the delivery of lower prescription drug prices to American patients. The orders give directives to the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to take appropriate steps to ensure delivery of reduced costs on prescription drugs, including epinephrine and insulin, for American patients. The historic action is expected to significantly change the health industry and ensure Americans are getting their drugs at the lowest price possible. Here is everything we know about the executive order giving price placebo to Americans:
1. The executive orders will end the obscure system of kickbacks by middlemen that hide behind the high retail prices many Americans face at the pharmacy counter.
2. Under the new arrangement, aged Americans will be given these kickbacks directly as discounts in Medicare Part D. As of 2018, these Part D discounts summed up to more than $30 billion, representing an average discount of 26-30%.
3. The executive orders mandate federally qualified health centers who buy epinephrine and insulin in the 340B program to directly send the savings accrued from discounted drug prices to medically underserved American patients. This will improve access to life-saving epinephrine and insulin for individuals who experience high rates among the 28 million patients who go to Federally Qualified Health Centers every year.
4. The orders aim to finalize the rule granting states the right to set up safe importation plans for specific prescription drugs.
5. The orders grant permission for the re-importation of insulin products manufactured in the United States if the Secretary confirms that re-importation is essential for emergency medical in line with section 801 (d) of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
6. The orders set up a course of action for safe personal importation through the use of individual waivers to buy drugs at reduced prices from pre-authorized pharmacies. This will allow drug importation from Canada and other countries.
7. The orders will make sure that the Medicare program and seniors do not pay more than any economically similar OECD country for the expensive Medicare Part B drugs. This put a stop to foreign nations' freeloading off the backs of American pharmaceutical investments and taxpayers. To ensure this, an index linking prices of drugs in the U.S. to those elsewhere will be created.
8. The executive orders are expected to become effective by August 24, 2020, unless Congress disapproves.