On July 24, 2020, President Donald Trump signed four executive orders directing the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to take the necessary steps to deliver lower costs on prescription drugs for American patients, including insulin and epinephrine.
The executive orders issued by the President include:
- Lowering Prices for Patients by Eliminating Kickbacks to Middlemen — Directs federally qualified health centers to pass along massive discounts on insulin and epinephrine received from drug companies to certain low-income Americans.
- Increasing Drug Importation to Lower Prices for American Patients — Intended to allow state plans for safe importation of certain drugs, authorize the re-importation of insulin products made in the United States, and create a pathway for widespread use of personal importation waivers at authorized pharmacies in the United States.
- Access to Affordable Life-Saving Medications — Intended to prohibit secret deals between drug manufacturers and pharmacy benefit manager middlemen, ensuring patients directly benefit from available discounts at the pharmacy center.
- The fourth executive order is intended to ensure that the United States pays the lowest price available in economically comparable countries for Medicare Part B drugs. Implementation of the fourth executive order is delayed until August 25, 2020 to allow pharmaceutical executives a chance to propose an alternative.
The orders act as broad policy directives that are used to establish how laws will be enforced by the administration — meaning it does not change any existing regulations. It’s important to note that the impact of these executive orders is unclear until the administration can begin implementing the aforementioned changes.
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