Healio Special Report: Health Care and Politics
Healio Special Report: Health Care and Politics
January 31, 2017
2 min read

Pharmaceutical executives meet with Trump to discuss affordability, accessibility of prescription drugs

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President Donald J. Trump met today with executives from the nation’s leading pharmaceutical companies to discuss strategies to increase U.S. production while reforming regulations that contribute to higher costs.

Stephen J. Ubl, president and CEO of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), described the session as “a positive, productive meeting.”

President Donald J. Trump

“We talked about how we can work together to improve American competitiveness around the world, create more jobs here at home, and enhance the U.S. biopharmaceutical industry that continues to lead the world in the development of lifesaving treatments and cures,” Ubl said in a PhRMA–issued statement. “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around the world; reforming our tax code to spur investment and job creation here in the United States; and removing outdated regulations that drive up costs and slow innovation.”

Such policies would spur growth in the biopharmaceutical industry that could lead to 350,000 additional jobs over the decade, Ubl said.

Vice President Mike Pence and Rep. Greg Walden (R-Oregon) — chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee — also participated in the meeting, as did the following pharmaceutical industry representatives:

  • Robert A. Bradway, chairman and CEO of Amgen, and a member of the PhRMA board of directors;
  • Joaquin Duato, executive vice president and chairman of Worldwide Pharmaceuticals at Johnson & Johnson, and a member of the PhRMA board of directors;
  • Kenneth C. Frazier, chairman and CEO of Merck, and a member of the PhRMA Federal Committee;
  • Robert J. Hugin, executive chairman of Celgene and a member of the PhRMA Public Affairs Committee;
  • Joseph Jimenez, CEO of Novartis and a member of the PhRMA board of directors; and
  • David A. Ricks, president and CEO of Eli Lilly.

Today’s meeting occurred nearly 3 weeks after Trump held a press conference in which he called the drug industry “disastrous.” He also said pharmaceutical companies are “getting away with murder” thanks to high drug prices.

Prior to his inauguration, Trump indicated the government could negotiate prices directly with industry on behalf of Medicare and Medicaid.

However, today’s meeting focused on a collaborative approach to health care reform designed to “give consumers more choices and create a more competitive health care marketplace,” Ubl said.

“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,” Ubl said. “The current system needs to evolve to enable the private sector to lead the move to a value-driven health care 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 health care system,” Ubl added. “We look forward to working with the administration and Congress to advance solutions that promote economic growth and job creation and create a more competitive health care marketplace.” – by Kristie L. Kahl