Trump drafts Executive Order for Big Pharma

June 23, 2017: The New York Times has published a leaked draft of a new Trump Executive Order which demonstrates that Big Pharma has captured the White House.

The document directs the United States Trade Representative to conduct a study of price differences between the United States and other countries, and to review trade agreements that may need to be revised “to promote greater intellectual property protection and competition in the global market.”

This is Big Pharma coming back after its big win in the Trans-Pacific Partnership was sunk by President Trump in January this year. Expect any US bilateral trade initiative to demand stronger monopolies for US pharmaceutical companies.

The draft order targets a program, 340B, that requires the drug industry to give discounts to hospitals and clinics that serve large numbers of low-income patients. The pharmaceutical industry has complained that the program is being abused, while hospitals say they would have to cut services without it.

Many of the people President Trump has hired to work on drug policy have ties to the pharmaceutical industry. Joe Grogan, the associate director of health programs in the budget office, worked as the head of federal affairs for Gilead, whose expensive hepatitis C drugs have helped fuel the debate over rising drug costs. Tom Price, the secretary of health and human services, was a Republican congressman whose policies were seen as Pharma industry-friendly and who opposed measures like allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices. And the new commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, Scott Gottlieb, was a longtime consultant to the drug industry.