- WHITEHOUSE.GOV - Set 13, 2020 -
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Purpose. Americans pay more per capita for prescription drugs than residents of any other developed country in the world. It is unacceptable that Americans pay more for the exact same drugs, often made in the exact same places. Other countries’ governments regulate drug prices by negotiating with drug manufacturers to secure bargain prices, leaving Americans to make up the difference — effectively subsidizing innovation and lower-cost drugs for the rest of the world. The Council of Economic Advisers has found that Americans finance much of the biopharmaceutical innovation that the world depends on, allowing foreign governments, many of which are the sole healthcare payers in their respective countries, to enjoy bargain prices for such innovations. Americans should not bear extra burdens to compensate for the shortfalls that result from the nationalized public healthcare systems of wealthy countries abroad.
In addition to being unfair, high drug prices in the United States also have serious economic and health consequences for patients in need of treatment. High prices cause Americans to divert too much of their scarce resources to pharmaceutical treatments and away from other productive uses. High prices are also a reason many patients skip doses of their medications, take less than the recommended doses, or abandon treatment altogether. The consequences of these behaviors can be severe. For example, patients may develop acute conditions that result in poor clinical outcomes or that require drastic and expensive medical interventions.
In most markets, the largest buyers pay the lowest prices, but this has not been true for prescription drugs. The Federal Government is the largest payer for prescription drugs in the world, but it pays more than many smaller buyers, including other developed nations. When the Federal Government purchases a drug covered by Medicare Part B — the cost of which is shared by American seniors who take the drug and American taxpayers — it should insist on, at a minimum, the lowest price at which the manufacturer sells that drug to any other developed nation.