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Donald Trump’s Promises On Action On Prescription Drug Prices May Have An Impact On India

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| October 17 , 2017 , 17:57 IST

US President Donald Trump’s promise to bring down the cost of prescription drugs and let other countries pay more for these medicines has possible implications for India.

At a White House meeting, Trump reportedly told members of his cabinet that the prices of prescription drugs in the US have gone through the roof. 

“If you look at the same drug by the same exact company made in the same exact box and sold some place else sometimes it’s a fraction of what we pay in this country,” Trump said at a Rose Garden Press conference.

Trump did not mention any country, but his policy on prescription drugs could have implications for India. The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPAA) had recently fixed the price of drug eluting stents in India at Rs 29600 and bare metal stents at 7260, effectively slashing them by 85%. This move was hailed across India by health groups.

Earlier the prices of drug eluting stents ranged between Rs 40,000 and Rs 1.98 lakh. Similarly, the price of bare metal stents ranged between Rs 30,000 and Rs 75,000.

In his opening remark the US President said, “The world as usual has taken advantage of the United States. They are setting prices in other countries and we are not. The drug companies frankly are getting away with murder. We want to bring prices down to whatever the other countries are paying or at least close to that and let the other countries pay more.”

 

“They (other countries) are setting such low prices that we’re actually subsidising other countries. And that’s just not going to happen anymore,” Trump said. “This has been going on for years where our people are paying so much more. I don’t mean they are paying two per cent more. They are paying double, triple, and quadruple. They are paying so much more that it is very unfair to the United States as usual,” Trump said.

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Later, in an informal press conference with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Trump said the drug industry's political contributions helped explain the high costs of prescription drugs in the U.S.

"They contribute massive amounts of money to political people — I don't know, Mitch, maybe even to you," Trump told reporters. "But I have to tell you: Me? I'm not interested in their money. I don't need their money."