Trump meets with drugmakers, seeks lower prices, U.S. production

Trumps calls on pharmaceutical execs to cut prices and move production back to U.S. and vows to work to streamline FDA approval process.

WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES (JANUARY 31, 2017) (RESTRICTED POOOL) – U.S. President Donald Trump, in a meeting with the chief executives of several top drugmakers on Tuesday (January 31) called on the pharmaceutical industry to boost their U.S. production and lower their prices, and vowed to speed up approval times for new medicines.

Trump met with the CEOs of Novartis AG, Merck & Co Inc, Johnson & Johnson, Celgene Corp, Eli Lilly & Co, Amgen Inc as well as the head of the industry’s lobbying group, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

Shares of five of the six drug companies at the White House meeting with Trump were up more than 1 percent on average following the president’s remarks,

Trump told the drugmakers that pricing had been “astronomical.”

“We have to get prices down for a lot of reasons. We have no choice, for Medicare and Medicaid,” Trump said at the meeting, citing the nation’s government insurance programs for the elderly, the poor and the disabled that together are the largest U.S. purchaser of medications.

Trump also said currency devaluation by other countries had increased drugmakers’ outsourcing their production and called on the companies to make more of their products in the United States.

He added that foreign countries must pay fair share for drug development costs.

“We’re going to end global freeloading,” Trump said.

Trump spooked investors in the pharmaceuticals and biotech sectors by saying on Jan. 11, before his inauguration, that drug companies were “getting away with murder” on what they charged the government for medicine and that he would do something about it. That prompted the pharmaceutical lobbying group to unveil a new TV marketing campaign last week to improve its image by focusing attention on strides in research.

Company executives, meanwhile, have tried to tread a careful line in defending their industry while expressing optimism that the United States would continue to reward scientific advances.


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