At a White House meeting with pharmaceutical executives, President Trump said he would cut regulations at the Food and Drug Administration, making it much easier for drugmakers to get their products to the public, The Washington Post reports.
“We’re also going to be streamlining the process, so that from your standpoint, when you have a drug, you can actually get it approved if it works, instead of waiting for many, many years,” Trump told executives of companies such as Merck, Eli Lilly, Johnson & Johnson, Celgene and Novartis.
Trump also focused on how to lower the prices of meds. Speaking to the media while surrounded by the pharma leaders, he said the topic would be discussed further in their closed-door meeting. “We have to get prices down for a lot of reasons. We have no choice,” Trump said. “For Medicare, for Medicaid, we have to get the prices down.”
Recently, Trump said the pharmaceutical industry was “getting away with murder,” and on the campaign trail, he pledged to lower drug prices, possibly by allowing Medicare to negotiate prices of drugs directly. The pharmaceutical industry has opposed this and has viewed Trump cautiously, though as The New York Times reports, biotechnology and pharmaceutical stocks rallied when Trump won the election.
After the meeting, Eli Lilly’s chief executive David Ricks told the Post that Trump “did not get into elaborate policy detail in terms of the U.S. pricing environment” but that they did discuss ways to get discounts to consumers.
Trump also asked the executives about expanding their companies in the United States and manufacturing their products in this country.
Responding to Trump’s vows about deregulation, Michael Carome, the director of the health research group at Public Citizen, a nonprofit watchdog, released a statement: “President Donald Trump’s preposterous promise to pharmaceutical company CEOs to slash U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations by 75 to 80 percent would, if fulfilled, fundamentally destroy the ability of the agency to protect patients and consumers from unsafe or ineffective medications and medical devices, hazardous foods and dietary supplements and dangerous tobacco products, among other things. The end result would be countless preventable deaths, injuries and illnesses across the U.S.”
He continued, “Trump’s horrifying proposal reflects utter ignorance about the FDA’s essential role in protecting public health and once again demonstrates his commitment to placing corporate profits above protecting the safety of the American people.”
For related POZ articles, read “Trump’s Pick for Health Secretary Has Shown ‘Allegiance to Corporate Interests’” and “Trump’s Assumed FDA Pick Has a Controversial View on Drug Approvals (He’s Also Interested in Immortality).”