Trump supports prescription drug importation, and he’s not alone. An article by Kaiser Health News reporter Phil Galewitz headlined Trump’s support for drug importation to fight high drug prices at the state level. His article delves into the history of earlier state importation attempts, which were personal drug importation not wholesale drug importation programs. But the coolest thing I took from it was that the three states that passed prescription drug importation laws have governors across the political spectrum. None are traditional right-wing Republicans or super left Democrats. What does that look like?
In Florida, you have Governor Ron DeSantis, fashioning
himself in the mold of a Trumpist Republican.
In Vermont, you have Governor Phil Scott, who can best be
described with a phrase practically unheard of these days: Liberal
Finally, newly elected Governor Jared Polis from Colorado is
a moderate Democrat.
While the state importation bill failed to advance in Utah, its vociferous champion in the state assembly is a very conservative Republican, Norm Thurston (Provo).
Today, President Trump will be talking about drug prices and his administration’s plan to help Americans better afford prescription drugs. By permitting importation of affordable medication, the administration has a chance to really strike a populist chord and a positive one.
It’s been said that the president is going to talk about trying to force other countries, such as Canada, to raise drug prices. Instead, why not expressly allow Americans to access those lower prices through importation? It was one of the solutions offered by Trump during his campaign.
The millions of Americans, across all parties, who already import medication to fill prescriptions will wildly applaud the administration for doing so.
Can Trump use executive authority on drug prices? Yes. Under current law, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, can permit individuals to import medication for personal use right now. The Secretary can also make it lawful for companies to import FDA-approved drugs at wholesale pharmacies in Canada.
America is united against high drug prices. It seems we’re only waiting for POTUS to catch up.
There are not many issues you can hear both Republicans and Democrats clapping about in unison, but high drug prices is definitely one of them. Echoing his 2016 campaign, President Trump again proclaimed during his State of the Union address Tuesday night that his administration is determined “to make fixing the injustice of high drug prices one of our top priorities.”
Speeding up the approval of lower-cost generics was noted by Trump as “exciting progress,” but nothing substantial has been done by the Trump administration on drug prices. The appointment of Alex Azar to head the Department of Health and Human Services department was a major disappointment. As president of Eli Lilly USA, Azar oversaw major price hikes on lifeline medications, such as insulin.
Appealing to both his base and popular opinion, President Trump could use his executive authority immediately to more expressly permit Americans to buy medication from international pharmacies.