President Donald Trump signed four executive orders Friday aimed at lowering prescription drug prices for consumers.
The first order allows pharmacies, states and wholesalers to import drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration from foreign countries for sale in the U.S. The order includes a special provision allowing pharmacies and wholesalers to re-import insulin and biological drugs.
Another order would change the way Medicare pays for certain drugs administered in a doctor’s office, including many cancer medications. The order would use the lowest price among economically advanced countries to set the rate that Medicare pays for these drugs. This would apply to the most expensive medications covered through Medicare Part B.
In addition, federally funded community health centers were directed to pass discounts they now get for insulin and EpiPens directly to low-income patients.
The last order would ensure that the rebates drugmakers pay to benefit managers and insurers get passed on to consumers.
It may be some time before consumers see the effect of these executive orders, as they must be carried out by federal regulators and could face court challenges from the pharmacy industry.