President Signs Four Executive Orders on Pharmaceutical Pricing

Last Updated: Jul 28, 2020

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On July 24, 2020, President Trump signed four executive orders aimed at lowering pharmaceutical drug prices.Here is a closer look at what the orders aim to do.

Access to Affordable Life-Saving Medications

The first order directs the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish a program for federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) to pass-through discounts on insulin and epinephrine received from drug companies to certain low-income Americans.

View the life-saving medications order.

Increasing Drug Importation and Lowering Prices for American Patients

The second order directs HHS to allow drug importation through three programs that:

  • Grant waivers allowing for personal import of prescription drugs, without limit on drug type or country of import, provided it meets safety requirements.
  • Authorize import of insulin at lower cost.
  • Create state-based programs of certain drugs from Canada.

View the drug importation order.

Lowering Drug Prices for Patients by Eliminating Kickbacks to Middlemen

The third order directs HHS to issue rulemaking that:

  • Ends safe harbor protections under the anti-kickback statute for drug rebates not applied at the point-of-sale.
  • Creates safe harbor by directing cost-saving rebates and discounts to Medicare patients at the point-of-sale and reduce their out-of-pocket costs.

View the order on eliminating kickbacks.

Most Favored Nation Status

Finally, the fourth order would allow Medicare to purchase drugs at the same price other countries pay. Although this fourth order was signed by the President, it does not take effect until Aug. 24, 2020. The President remarked that this fourth order may not need to take effect at all pending the outcome of discussions between the Administration and executives from the pharmaceutical industry to substantially reduce drug prices. This fourth order was not released publicly.

The Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) will provide updates to its members accordingly when additional information is known.

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