On Tuesday the president Donald Trump had a meeting with executives of the largest US pharmaceutical companies. During the meeting, he told that the drug prices on the US market are astronomical and should be brought down.
President Trump on Tuesday told a group of drug company executives gathered for a meeting at the White House that they need to “get prices down.”
“You folks have done a tremendous job but we have to get prices down,” Trump said, according to a pool report.
In return he offered some concessions: more loose regulations on manufacturing and faster FDA approvals:
“We’re going to be cutting regulation at a level nobody’s ever seen before,” Trump said in the meeting with executives.
“You can’t get approval for the plant and then you can’t get approval to make the drug, other than that you’re doing fantastic,” he said. (Read the full article)
Unfortunately, the goal of the pharma executives is exactly the opposite: to increase profits of the corporations for the benefit of shareholders. This is their primary task, this is what they were hired for. In many cases profit growth is achieved precisely by increasing prices. The reason for the high drug prices on the US market is the ban on drug imports. The ban could be justified, because the other countries, like Canada, that allow drug imports from Eastern Europe and India have to deal with with drug counterfeiting problems. But unless the US pharmaceutical market opens for imports, high drug prices are unavoidable. Reducing the regulation may improve situation for some extent. Speeding up approval of new drugs will definitely reduce the total costs of drug development, but can lead to various problems. For example, significantly reducing the amount of testing may easily result in low quality and possibly dangerous products on the market. In present market conditions pharmaceutical companies have all incentives to make development and manufacturing of drugs as expensive as possible.