Pharma execs, upset by Trump's drug pricing executive orders, refuse White House meeting

Drug companies refused to attend a White House meeting on drug prices, according to reports. (Pixabay)

President Donald Trump seems to have hit a nerve with his Friday executive orders on drug pricing. As drug companies work to battle the pandemic, executives declined to attend a White House meeting today on drug prices, according to media reports.  

When he touted the executive orders Friday, the president said Tuesday's meeting would facilitate talks with pharmaceutical executives on an issue important to many Americans. But the major industry trade groups declined to send representatives, Politico said. Industry representatives weren't sure it would have been a "productive meeting," a source told The Hill.

At issue is the president's order linking drug prices in Medicare to lower prices abroad, which the industry argues will import socialist price controls into America’s healthcare system. Trump on Friday gave the industry a month to propose an alternative, but a spokeswoman for industry trade group PhRMA told Fierce Pharma the industry's "sole focus is figuring out a way to beat COVID-19."

"The president’s plan to import policies from socialized health care systems abroad is disrupting our work and diverting our focus away from those life-saving efforts," she added.

PhRMA is "willing to speak with the administration and discuss ways to lower costs for patients at the pharmacy counter," she added, but it's "steadfastly opposed to policies that would allow foreign governments to set prices for medicines in the United States."

Inside Health Policy first reported the meeting was canceled Monday afternoon.

RELATED: Trump's drug pricing executive orders won't bring real change: experts 

Trump on Friday touted several executive orders on drug pricing, but the White House didn’t release specifics right away. The orders center on discounts for insulin and epinephrine; eliminating rebates; allowing imports from Canada and "other countries"; and creating an index linking U.S. prices to those elsewhere. 

The orders won’t do much to address high drug prices, at least not right away, experts said. One analyst predicted “little impact” and another said that “none of these ideas put forth are new, or in fact any more implementable than before, especially without congressional action.” Other experts predicted it’ll take several months or longer to implement the executive orders, or for patients to see savings.