ZURICH (Reuters) – President Donald Trump’s latest executive order aimed at lowering U.S. drug prices by linking them to those of other nations is “light on details” but “surely exceeds” his authority, Roche’s top drug executive said on Monday.
Trump’s plan, which he called a “Most Favored Nation” (MFN) order on Sunday, would pay a price for a prescription drug that matches the lowest price paid among wealthy foreign governments. Medicare, the U.S. government healthcare program for seniors, is now prohibited from negotiating prices it pays to drugmakers.
“This is really not the right way to go,” Bill Anderson, the Swiss company’s pharmaceuticals division CEO, said on a call with investors. “The fundamental problem with MFN is it really brings the policies from other countries that don’t support innovation, it just brings those into the U.S….The executive order, it’s basically one page, it’s light on details, but it surely exceeds the authority of an executive order.”
Anderson’s reaction to the order Trump issued in the run-up to the Nov. 3 election matches that of drug industry lobby PhRMA, whose leaders also called the policy “unworkable” and an “overreach”, and said it would give foreign governments a say in how the United States provides access to treatments.
Meanwhile, other policy experts said such an order must be enacted via complex U.S. federal rules that will likely take time to draft and would be difficult to complete before Election Day less than two months away.
“That is a change that should be done by law, and we’re remaining eager and willing to work with legislators and the administration to make appropriate changes,” Roche’s Anderson added during the investor event.
(Reporting by John Miller; editing by David Evans and Michael Shields)