Legislative Impact on Drug Pricing

Legislative Impact on Drug Pricing

From The Senior Citizens League:

Despite the coronavirus emergency, The Senior Citizens League, TSCL is continuing its fight for you to protect your Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits.  We have had to make some adjustments in the way we carry on our work, but we have not, and will not stop our work on your behalf.

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Trump Expected to Issue Executive Orders about Prescription Drugs

Last week White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows announced that President Trump would soon be signing three executive orders regarding prescription drug prices.  While he did not provide any further information the Washington Post published an article about what one of the orders is likely to be.

It is anticipated that one of the orders will be to shift drug and medical production to this country by suddenly cutting off federal agencies from those offshore supply chains.

However, there is concern that it could make it even harder to obtain supplies critical to combating the pandemic, such as personal protective equipment, testing supplies and even medications to treat coronavirus patients.

The order is expected to apply to government programs and agencies that directly purchase drugs and medical supplies, according to lobbyists and industry watchers. They may include the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Strategic National Stockpile, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

The order would broaden existing federal requirements for government agencies to prioritize buying supplies for medicines deemed ‘essential’ from U.S. manufacturers, rather than companies in China or elsewhere around the world.

The Post story said that labs struggled to ramp up coronavirus testing, and hospitals and nursing homes ran short of personal protective equipment over the spring. These failures hampered the national and state responses to the pandemic, leaving the United States with far more infections and deaths than any other country. Even now, shortages of protective medical gear are looming as outbreaks grow in the South. One big reason is because these supplies often come from other countries, which were also dealing with outbreaks.

The nation’s pharmaceutical industry has pushed back against the potential order, arguing that the United States should not shut itself off from a global supply chain.

‘Turning our backs on trading partners during a crisis could damage our relationships long after this pandemic ends’, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhARMA) and dozens of other business and trade groups wrote in a letter to the administration.

Other critics say that revising the government’s purchasing rules will not provide a quick solution to the supply shortages of the current pandemic. ”Making Buy American provisions tighter during the current crisis would likely do more harm than good,” according to William Reinsch and Jack Caporal of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Eighty percent of the nation’s active pharmaceutical ingredients come from overseas and China is its No. 2 supplier, behind only Canada.

When it comes to generic drugs, a ‘substantial portion’ of U.S. imports come either directly from China or third world countries such as India, which use active ingredients sourced from China.

Moreover, U.S. dependence on China for drugs and drug products is growing. Its imports of Chinese medical equipment increased 78 percent between 2010 and 2018.

TSCL will be watching closely for the expected executive orders and we will report on them in our legislative update that follows the release of the orders.

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Your Legislative Team

The Senior Citizens League (TSCL)

1800 Diagonal Road, Suite 600

Alexandria, VA 223145


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