Drug price negotiation broke down after White House sought 'Trump cards' for seniors

Sept. 22, 2020

The Trump administration and pharma industry were reportedly close to achieving a deal late last month to lower drug prices when negotiations fell apart. 

According to a report in the New York Times, which cited “four people familiar with the discussions,” the deal collapsed after the White House asked pharma companies to pay for $100 cash cards to be sent to American seniors ahead of the Nov. 3 election. 

Drugmakers, who were represented by PhRMA, the industry’s largest trade group, refused. Some reportedly cited the high cost of such a plan. Others balked at what they saw as an attempt by the Trump administration to drum up support from seniors before the election. 

A spokesperson from PhRMA also said that the one-time savings cards would not provide a lasting solution or “fundamental reforms” that would help seniors pay for prescriptions.

The White House has denied that it planned to put Trump’s name on the cash cards.  

The Trump administration and pharma industry have been butting heads for months over several proposed measures aimed at lowering prices. No issue has been more contentious as the White House’s plan to link prescription drug prices paid in the U.S. to those charged abroad. Despite objections from the industry, the Trump administration moved ahead with an executive order last week, which will create a pilot program using this so-called “most-favored nation” pricing rule, but it will only impact certain Medicare drugs for now.