Trump to issue 'Buy American' executive order for essential drugs: reports 

Donald Trump
President Donald Trump is set to sign an executive order focusing on U.S. production of medical supplies, according to reports. (C-SPAN)

Shortly after he issued four drug pricing executive orders—including one that generated significant pushback from the pharmaceutical industry—President Donald Trump is set to issue another centering on U.S. production for drugs and medical supplies, according to reports. 

The new order will stipulate that the federal government buy essential medicines made only in the U.S., according to The Hill. The government would develop a list of those essential drugs, and then direct agencies such as the Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Veterans Affairs to purchase only from U.S. factories. 

Trump’s trade advisor Peter Navarro laid out the framework to reporters Thursday, according to reports. Navarro said the idea is to "establish a base level of demand" to encourage U.S. drug manufacturing, as quoted by The Hill. 

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Trump's executive order would come on the heels of governmental deals with Kodak and Phlow to produce pharmaceutical ingredients in the U.S. Critics pointed out that those deals aren't with established players. In a Wall Street Journal interview, Teva CEO Kåre Schultz said he doesn't "see how it’s plausible" for Kodak to be competitive in the drug ingredients field, even with a $765 million loan from the U.S. government.

The president is set to sign the new order Thursday afternoon at Whirlpool Corporation, Stat reports. Navarro started talking about such an executive order in March. Besides prescription drugs, the order will cover essential medical equipment and protective gear, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Like Trump’s executive orders on drug pricing, it isn’t immediately clear how the “Buy American” order will be implemented or on what timeline. Its actual effect on the pharmaceutical industry is unclear, as well.

RELATED: Trump and Big Pharma tussle over drug price proposal with 3 months until election 

But the move threatens to deepen the rift between the White House and drug industry that has taken shape since his orders in late July. After the president signed his drug pricing orders, pharmaceutical representatives refused a White House meeting on the issue, according to Politico, and numerous CEOs criticized the president’s plan in conference calls with analysts.  

Making perhaps the most pointed remarks was Eli Lilly CEO David Ricks, who called the president’s proposal to tie U.S. prices to those abroad “horrible policy.” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said he doesn’t “think there is a need, right now, for White House meetings.” 

Aside from the international pricing index idea, Trump’s drug pricing orders covered discounting for insulin and epinephrine, eliminating rebates and allowing drug imports from Canada and other countries. 

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