PhRMA Comments on Meeting with President Trump

US President Donald Trump met with pharmaceutical industry executives and representatives from Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) at the White House this week to discuss issues of common interest, including drug pricing, regulatory reform, and drug manufacturing in the US.

In a White House statement that highlighted comments made by the President, the issue of drug pricing, particularly for Medicare and Medicaid, was addressed. “You folks have done a terrific job over the years, but we have to get prices down for a lot of reasons,” said the President. “We have no choice. For Medicare, for Medicaid, we have to get the prices way down, so that’s what we’re going to be talking about. We’re also going to be streamlining the process so that from your standpoint when you have [a] drug, you can actually get it approved, if it works, instead of waiting for many, many years. The US drug companies have produced extraordinary results for our country but the pricing has been astronomical for our country.”

The President also addressed the need for regulatory reform in the US, including as a means to faciliate new drug manufacturing in the US. “So you have to get your companies back here,” said the President. “We have to make progress back. We’re going to get rid of a tremendous number of regulations. I know you have some problems where you cannot even think about opening up new plants and then you can’t get approval for the plant and then you can’t get approval to make the drug.”

The President also alluded to streamling the regulatory process at the US Food and Drug Administration and indicated that he will be making his selection to head the FDA soon. “We’re going to streamline the FDA,” said the President, “we have a fantastic person that I think I we’ll be naming fairly soon, he’s going to streamline the FDA and you’re going to get your products either approved or not approved but it’s going to be a quick process. It’s not going to take 15 years. And we’re going to do I think a tremendous — I think we’re going to make a tremendous difference to you. I read where it costs sometimes $2.5 billion on average, actually, to come up with a new product. Is that correct? 15 years, $2.5 billion to come up with a product where there’s not even a safety problem. So it’s crazy. I’m surprised you can’t get them to move faster than that.”

Stephen J. Ubl is president and chief executive officer of PhRMA. issued a statement to comment on the meeting with the President. ” We had a positive, productive meeting with President Trump, Vice President Pence and House Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden, (R-Ore.). We talked about how we can work together to improve American competitiveness around the world, create more jobs here at home and enhance the US. biopharmaceutical industry that continues to lead the world in the development of lifesaving treatments and cures.”

He outlined specific areas that were discussed. “We discussed many areas of common ground including: advancing stronger trade agreements to level the playing field with countries around the world; reforming our tax code to spur investment and job creation here in the United States; and removing outdated regulations that drive up costs and slow innovation. We believe if these policies are enacted, it will translate to up to 350,000 new jobs over the next 10 years as a result of growth in the biopharmaceutical industry. We also talked about how we can work together on healthcare reform to give consumers more choices and create a more competitive healthcare marketplace.”

Although not specifying details, Ubl provided broad-based support for healthcare reform and addressed drug pricing. “Our industry takes seriously the concerns raised about the affordability and accessibility of prescription medicines, and we have expressed our commitment to working with the administration to advance market-based reforms,” he said. “The current system needs to evolve to enable the private sector to lead the move to a value-driven healthcare system. To do this, we need to reform existing laws and regulations that are currently preventing private companies from negotiating better deals and paying for medicines based on the value they provide to patients and our healthcare system.”

Source: The White House and PhRMA

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