O, Canada Like his across-the-aisle rivals, Trump looks to imports to cut drug costs
Fiercepharma | July 30, 2019
President Donald Trump and his 2020 challengers are in a heated skirmish to prove to voters who is the toughest candidate on Big Pharma. Now, Trump has found even more common ground with Democrats on lowering the cost of drugs. The Trump administration is drafting a plan to allow the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to “safely and effectively” import branded drugs from Canada. Freeing up Canadian imports would help lower drug prices by providing U.S. consumers with the “benefit of the deals that pharma themselves are striking with other countries,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Tuesday. In most cases—often with the exception of chronic shortages—federal law prevents foreign drug importation. Azar, Trump's appointee, has balked at the idea in the past, as have previous FDA chiefs and many GOP politicians. But at least once each congressional session over the past decade or more, the idea ends up in a bill or two, only to be voted down. Now, though, the Canada import scheme represents a rare point of common cause between Trump and the Democratic candidates challenging him for the presidency in 2020.