November 22, 2019 / 7:29 PM / 19 days ago

Trump says he will allow states to import prescription drugs to lower costs

FILE PHOTO: A pharmacist fills a prescription at the Rock Canyon pharmacy in Provo, Utah, U.S., May 9, 2019. REUTERS/George Frey

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday he will soon release a plan to let Florida and other states import prescription medicines to combat high drug prices, and he blasted the Democrat-led House for not going far enough in a drug-pricing bill.

“We will soon be putting more options on the table,” Trump wrote in a series of tweets, adding that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “and her Do Nothing Democrats drug pricing bill doesn’t do the trick.”

The tweets were similar to comments the president made on Nov. 15 at a White House event with Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar, among other officials. At that meeting, Trump said he would work with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on a plan to broaden rules on importing pharmaceuticals into this country.

Drug companies have staunchly opposed such a plan, which has been mulled for years but never implemented.

“House Republicans are showing real LEADERSHIP and prepared to enact bipartisan solutions for drug prices. Do Nothing Democrats are playing partisan politics with YOUR drug prices! We are READY to work together if they actually want to get something done!,” the president, who faces impeachment by the Democrat-led House of Representatives, said on Twitter.

U.S. prescription drug costs are the highest in the developed world because most other countries negotiate pricing directly with manufacturers, while drug companies are allowed to set their own prices in the United States.

Lowering healthcare costs for U.S. consumers is expected to be a major issue in the 2020 presidential campaign.

Reporting by Lisa Lambert; Editing by Bill Berkrot

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