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Trump pushes drugmakers for lower costs, more U.S. production

By Roberta Rampton and Deena Beasley

WASHINGTON/LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump in a gathering on Tuesday with pharmaceutical executives referred to as on them to fabricate more of their medicine within the United States and reduce costs, whereas vowing to hurry approval of latest medicines and ease regulation.

Trump informed them the federal government was paying “astronomical” costs for medicines in its health packages for older, disabled and poor individuals and stated he would quickly appoint a brand new U.S. Food and Drug Administration chief.

“We’re going to streamline the FDA,” Trump stated in a press release, referring to the regulatory company accountable for vetting that new medicine are protected and efficient.

The assembly between Trump and the pharmaceutical executives signaled a defusing of tensions which have stored drug inventory costs in verify because the presidential election. Shares of a lot of the group rallied on Tuesday following the assembly, even because the broader inventory market slid.

“Trump is a populist above all else, and having these (drug) prices skyrocket, he’s commented that under his administration, this is not going to happen,” stated market strategist Quincy Crosby of Prudential Financial in Newark, New Jersey.

She stated Trump was enjoying a balancing act between controlling costs and loosening laws. “I don’t assume nearly all of Americans need all laws lifted from drug makers.”

Attending the assembly have been prime executives at Merck & Co Inc, Johnson &, Celgene Corp, Eli Lilly & Co, Amgen Inc and Switzerland’s Novartis AG <NOV N.S> in addition to the top of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) lobbying group.

According to a transcript of the televised portion of the assembly, Amgen Chief Executive Officer Robert Brad approach promised so as to add 1,600 U.S. jobs at his California-based biotechnology firm this yr.

Amgen clarified in an e mail that it presently employs round 20,000 individuals worldwide, together with 12,000 within the United States, and stated the 1,600 consists of new employees in addition to hires to deal with attrition.

Celgene, Lilly, Merck and Amgen stated by e-mail after the assembly that they have been inspired by Trump’s concentrate on innovation, tax reform and the necessity for a more value-driven health care system.

Lilly stated dialogue subjects additionally included stronger commerce agreements and eradicating “outdated laws that drive up prices and sluggish innovation.”

PhRMA echoed these factors in its personal post-meeting assertion, including that the insurance policies, if enacted, would end in as much as 350,000 new jobs over the subsequent 10 years.

“Tax, deregulation – these are issues that would actually assist us broaden operations,” Lilly CEO Dave Ricks stated.

Officials at Novartis and J&J didn’t instantly reply to requests for further remark.

Shares of the six corporations have been principally larger, for an general achieve averaging zero.7 %, in contrast with a zero.four % drop within the broad S&P 500. The Nasdaq Biotech Index was up 1.2 %, reversing earlier losses, and the S&P 500 health care index gained zero.6 %.


“We should get costs down for a number of causes. We haven’t any selection, for Medicare and Medicaid,” Trump stated, citing the nation’s authorities insurance coverage packages for the aged, the poor and the disabled.

Trump additionally stated foreign money devaluation by different nations had elevated drugmakers’ outsourcing their production, and he referred to as on the businesses to make more of their merchandise within the United States.

Foreign nations should pay a justifiable share for drug improvement prices, he added. “We’re going to finish international freeloading.”

The United States sometimes pays more for medicine than another developed nation. Most Western European nations, in addition to Japan, have government-run health care protection beneath which drug costs are negotiated.

High drug costs have turn into a nationwide concern in the course of the previous two years as healthcare prices have risen Trump spooked pharmaceutical and biotech buyers by saying on Jan. 11, earlier than his inauguration, that drug corporations have been “getting away with homicide” on what they charged the federal government for drugs and that he would do one thing about it.

Company executives, in the meantime, have tried to tread a cautious line in defending their business whereas expressing optimism that the United States would proceed to reward scientific advances.

“Regulations – nice, streamlining the FDA, maybe,” Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank in Chicago said. “But if Trump goes to deal with his constituency, drug costs have to return down. So I feel that is perhaps a Pyrrhic victory.”

(Additional reporting by Eric Beech, Ben Hirschler, John Miller, Chuck Mikolajczak, Rodrigo Campos, Susan Heavey and Caroline Humer; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Cynthia Osterman)

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