Jul 24, 2020
Donald Trump Speech Transcript July 24: Signs Executive Orders to Lower Prescription Drug Prices
Donald Trump gave a speech on July 24 where he signed executive orders to lower prescription drug prices. Read his full speech transcript here.
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Donald Trump: (00:02)
Well thank you very much everybody. Please. This promises to be a very big and very important meeting, so bear with me. Take a little while, but it has to do with a thing called drug pricing and as you know Congress has been working on this for decades and decades and we are now doing something that is going to be incredible for the American public. So today I’m taking a bold and historic, very dramatic action to reduce the price of prescription drugs for American patients and American seniors. Previous administrations did nothing, absolutely nothing, as drug lobbyists, special interests in foreign countries [inaudible 00:00:51] ripped off our citizens. Under the last administration alone, drug prices rose a staggering 55%. Thanks to my administration’s aggressive actions since taking office, we have successfully lowered drug prices for the first time in 51 years, but this reduction is still not close to what I want, what I expect, and I’m looking for help for our great seniors especially in particular, that’s what we’re doing today. You’ll hear something which will be very shocking, we’re doing things that nobody thought could be done and it’s going to have an incredible impact.
Donald Trump: (01:33)
Unfortunately we’ve been waiting for Congress to take action for many decades to reduce drug prices for more than just a small handful of people, but even the small handful of people never got price reductions, and I’m unwilling to wait any longer. Therefore today I’m signing four sweeping executive orders that will lead to a massive reduction in drug costs, massive. We’ve already gotten them down a little bit, but that’s not good enough, first time in 51 years as I said, but that’s not good enough. They represent the most far-reaching prescription drug reforms ever issued by a president. Nothing even close.
Donald Trump: (02:17)
Joining us for this important occasion are our Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex, where’s Alex? Alex, thank you, Alex Azar. CMS administrator, both doing a great job, Seema Verma. Seema, thank you Seema. FDA administrator Dr. Stephen Hahn, Stephen who is really speeding up the process of therapeutics and vaccines and I just heard from some of the big drug companies in there saying the FDA has really been moving the process along. Very important, Stephen. Can you move faster please? Okay. Thank you, great job. We appreciate it. And administrator of Health Resources and Service Administration Tom Engels. Tom, thank you. Thank you very much Tom for being here.
Donald Trump: (03:10)
We’re also pleased to have with us our great governor from the state of Florida, incredible state, incredible guy, Governor Ron DeSantis, thank you Ron very much. Appreciate it and you’re going to say a few words in the end, good. Representative Matt Gaetz, our friend. Where is … Hi Matt, you’re so quiet back there today. I’ve never seen you like that. Thank you Matt, great job you’re doing. Appreciate it very much. Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives Jose Oliva. Jose, thank you Jose very much, good job, and many other state and local leaders, we have a lot of them. Thank you very much being here.
Donald Trump: (03:52)
The four orders I’m signing today will completely restructure the prescription drug market in terms of pricing and everything else to make these medications affordable and accessible for all Americans. The first order will require federal community health centers to pass the giant discounts they receive from drug companies on insulin and EpiPens directly to their patients. You know, insulin became so expensive people weren’t able to use it. They desperately needed it. We have it to a level that you’re not going to believe. EpiPens, likewise. You’ve been reading horrible stories about EpiPens over the last six, seven years. Horrible, horrible, horrible increases, where they went from almost nothing to massive amounts of money. We’re changing that right now. These providers should not be receiving discounts for themselves while charging their poorest patients massive full prices. Under this order the price of insulin for affected patients will come down to just pennies a day, pennies a day from numbers that you weren’t able to think about. It’s a massive cost savings.
Donald Trump: (05:08)
The second executive order I’m signing this afternoon will allow states, wholesalers and pharmacies to do something other politicians have promised for decades and decades but never done. They never delivered. We will finally allow the safe and legal importation of prescription drugs from Canada and other countries where the price for the identical drug is incredibly lower. It’s a difference like you wouldn’t believe. 70%, 80%, 90%, 30%, but massively lower than the identical drug made in the same plant, the same factory, the same exact drug, same everything, same box, same pill, and yet it’s 50, 60, 70% lower and this is something that Ron and I have been discussing from the time Ron got elected and I’ve been wanting to do it and it takes a long time from a legal standpoint and we’ve got it all worked out.
Donald Trump: (06:17)
So we are going to be getting massive drug savings in Florida and other states and we’ve had numerous states that wanted to do it. Ron really was at the forefront, I will say that, but you have other states that have caught on, it’s caught on very quickly. Didn’t take them long to figure that one out, Ron. It’s too obvious. We pay for all of the research and all of the developments and foreign countries pay absolutely nothing and our consumer gets charged. This has been going on for decades. The American people pay an average of over three times more for medicine than the Canadians. Many people go to Canada, I see it all the time, they go to Canada, buy drugs and then they come back, prescription drugs because they save so much money. The trip is well worth it.
Donald Trump: (07:03)
The Obama-Biden administration pledged to end this unfairness and allow drug importation but they never got it done. They were unable to get it done. They didn’t get a lot of things done, but under my administration we’re standing up to the lobbyists and special interests and fighting back against a rigged system. Rigged system, you’ve heard that word before. I am unrigging the system that is many decades old. We’re doing something that should have been done a long time ago.
Donald Trump: (07:35)
The third revolutionary order I’m signing today will prevent middlemen and women I guess, but you’ve heard about the middleman, right? The middleman that makes so much money, nobody knows who they are, nobody has any idea who they are, they make more money perhaps than even the drug companies themselves, and the drug companies in all fairness to them, big pharma and they’re doing a great job on the vaccines, they’re doing a great job on therapeutics I can tell you because I deal with them a lot, but I think the middlemen make more money than they do and they don’t do much. Maybe they don’t do anything. Some people say they don’t do anything. Nobody even knows who they are, but the middlemen are making a fortune and pharmacy benefit managers and people are just bilking Medicare patients with these high drug prices while they pocket gigantic discounts, gigantic discounts. The amount of money they have made over the decades is too incredible even to speculate or say, it’s massive.
Donald Trump: (08:48)
Some very rich people are not going to like me very much today, I can tell you. I probably know them very well, I probably see them in Palm Beach, but nobody ever talks about who they are. Everyone, I hear the middlemen for years, the middlemen. Right Alex? He doesn’t know who they are either but he knows they’re rich. They’re not going to be so rich anymore because the money is going down to reduce the price of drugs, prescription drugs. So that’s a big thing. That’s a tremendous step. It should have been taken a long time ago but they have a great deal of power and I don’t have to tell you how many phone calls I’ve had in the last few days when they heard I was going to be doing this. I’ve heard from people that I haven’t spoken to in a long time. Frequently drug companies give these middlemen discounts of up to 50% on the price of prescription drugs, but too often those discounts are not passed on to the pharmacy counter, meaning the people. This rule will pass, those billions and billions of dollars a year, I mean many, many billions a year in discounts onto patients, directly onto patients, saving Americans with high drug costs thousands of dollars a year. Individual people will make thousands of dollars a year.
Donald Trump: (10:11)
You’re not going to believe the impact the things we’re talking about today are going to have. Mark Meadows, our great chief is sitting here and he’s just … Can’t even believe it because he was a very successful congressman, he’s been after people to do this for a long time and they never got to the gate. I understand why, tremendous pressure. Tremendous pressure put on the president not to do it.
Donald Trump: (10:35)
The fourth and final order I’m signing today is the granddaddy of them all. We’ll end global freeloading on the backs of American patients and American seniors. For decades, our citizens have paid the highest prices for drugs, prescription drugs anywhere in the world and it’s not even close. Foreign nations have paid vastly less
Donald Trump: (11:03)
“Foreign nations have paid vastly less for the exact same drug again, and the exact same box, from the exact same plant, from the exact same company. They would pay 10%, 20%, 30% what our people are paying. A pill that would sell for $1 in certain countries, I won’t name them. They’re all allies, right? They call them allies. I call them so-called allies, but a pill that would cost a dollar could be 7, $8 in our country, same exact pill. We pay 80% more than nations like Germany, Canada and others for some of the most expensive medicines, identical in all respects. This means that Americans are funding the enormous cost of drug research and development for the entire planet. We are bearing the entire cost of all of this. They’re bearing none. They say, “This is what we’re going to pay.” In some cases, it’s a socialist country. So we’re paying to reduce drug prices in a socialist country. How does that work? How does that work?
Donald Trump: (12:21)
And these are things that should have been done a long time ago. And even from our standpoint, we would have done it more quickly, but we have to go through vast amounts of waiting periods, waiting times, and this is an incredible day. This is just a big day. It is a big day. I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time. We incredibly and foolishly bear the full cost of all research and development, which is massive. In all fairness to the drug companies, can take 15 years to get something approved, billions and billions of dollars for a simple drug. It also means that the US taxpayers are effectively subsidizing the socialist healthcare systems of foreign welfare states and many other countries. We will end that abuse and restore the principles of free enterprise, but this doesn’t even have to do with free enterprise. This has to do with common sense and courage, to be honest, and courage.
Donald Trump: (13:25)
Under this transformative order, Medicare will be required to purchase drugs at the same price as other countries pay. So we would pay four or five times more for a drug, we now pay … If somebody else pays $1 and we pay $5, we’re paying $1. Now what’s going to happen is their number will go up, our number will come very substantially down and we’ll all agree at two and a half or two or whatever the final number is. But if some country is paying wherever it may be in the world because they had a better negotiator, because they had smarter people that we have, and that’s what it’s all about. Maybe more honest people. Who knows? Could be a lot of things going, but we get now the lowest price anywhere in the world and no more will we have to suffer by saying, “Gee, why is it so much cheaper for the exact same drug in some other country?” We will determine what other medically advanced nations pay for the most expensive drugs. And instead of paying the highest price, Medicare will pay the lowest price and so will lots of other US buyers.
Donald Trump: (14:40)
Medicare is the largest purchase of drugs anywhere in the world by far. Medicare, largest purchaser of drugs in the world, and we’re finally going to use that incredible power to achieve a fairer and lower price for everyone. Everyone will get a fairer and much lower price. This is not talking about one half of a percent. This is big stuff. Under our ridiculous system, which has been broken for decades, we aren’t even allowed to negotiate the price of drugs. Can you believe it? I said, “When are we going to negotiate?” We’re not allowed. We’re restricted by Congress from negotiating the price of drugs. Can you imagine? You say, “I want to get a better price. Oh I’m sorry, sir. You’re not allowed to do that. That’s illegal.” What kind of a system is that? Do you think the world looks at us and said, “Where the hell did these people come from?” But they treat us very nicely. It’s going to end, okay? I see you’re a fan of what we’re saying. You must be a doctor. Are you a doctor? Yeah. Doctors know. The doctors know. You’ve known that for years. We’re not allowed to negotiate. Can you believe it? We just have to take whatever it is.
Donald Trump: (15:54)
I’m pleased to announce that as a result of the orders I’m signing today, the heads of the major drug companies have requested a meeting to discuss how we can quickly and significantly lower drug prices and out of pocket expenses for Americans. They want to do what’s right. Look, they’re going to do what’s right. Look, I think it’s so important what they’re doing on therapeutics and vaccines, and we’re going to see them on Tuesday. We’ll see if we can do something here, but this could have been done a long time ago. The drug company executives will be at the White House on Tuesday, and they have some ideas how to significantly reduce drug prices. We’ve already given them to you. I don’t know if they can possibly do something to substitute for what’s called favored nations. Favored nations, that means we get the lowest price anywhere in the world. Whoever gets the best price, congratulations. Thank you very much for being a good negotiator because we now get the lowest price too. Should have been done a long time ago.
Donald Trump: (16:58)
If these talks that are successful, we may not need to implement the fourth executive order, which is a very tough order for them. Very tough, and I understand that, and we have a lot of respect for our great pharmaceutical companies, drug companies. We have a lot of respect for them, so we’ll see what they have to say on Tuesday. Maybe they have an idea that’s good, but it’s got to be very substantial. They’re actually in favor of the rebate rule, of the roll back because they say that’s people getting money that aren’t even doing anything for it and bigger money than they’re getting I believe. If they are not, the order will be implemented. If we don’t do a deal or agree to something, the order, number four, favored nations, a big order. They’re all big, all four are very big, by the way, very big. But the fourth order, we’re going to hold that until August 24th, hoping that the pharmaceutical companies will come up with something that will substantially reduce drug prices, and the clock starts right now. So it’s August 24th at 12:00 o’clock, after which the order on favored nations will go into effect and Mark I’ll hold you to it please. 12:00 o’clock not 12:01 right?
Donald Trump: (18:18)
In the meantime, we’re working very hard on therapeutics and a vaccine for the China virus, which remains our top priority and which are coming along at record speed. Thank you very much Dr. Hahn, been fantastic. You really have been fantastic. Two vaccine candidates are entering the final stage of clinical trials this month, right? Two. And several more vaccines will enter final trials in the following weeks. I did speak to one just recently. They’re working on therapeutics as opposed to vaccine and frankly, that’s the most exciting to me. We can walk into a hospital right now and get people better. I like that even more, but the vaccine long-term will be great.
Donald Trump: (19:05)
So we have them both going. They’re both going rapidly and they’re both going very well and I guess the early indications are beyond happy, right? It’s beyond happy. We’re mass producing all of the most promising candidates already so that on day one … That means that we think we have the answer. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be making that bet. It’s a big bet. So that in day one, the day we get it approved, it will be available immediately. Doctor, is that correct? So if we get it approved … Now, normally this process would take to get up to where we are now three years, four years. I’ve heard numbers like that, and we did it in literally a matter of weeks. It’s a really incredible thing.
Donald Trump: (19:51)
One of the other things, I was talking about drugs in the pipeline for getting drugs approved, and it does cost billions of dollars, and it would be 12 years, 15 years. And under Dr. Hahn and Scott, before you worked very hard, Scott Gottlieb, we’ve got that down to a number that’s less than half and we’re going down further. We have to make sure it’s safe and right to try came out of this whole thing where we have a drug that we think is good. Matt Gates helped with this and getting it approved and Mark, when he was a Congressman, but we had great help from certain people, but right to try is incredible. We have a drug that works, but it’s got to go through this very long and very detailed process for purposes of safety and to make sure it’s good.
Donald Trump: (20:40)
If somebody is terminally ill, very sick, person not going to make it, person very sick, we passed legislation which they’ve been trying to get for 42 years. It’s called right to try where people sign a document that if it doesn’t work out, they’re not suing the drug company, they’re not suing the insurance company and they’re not suing our country. And instead of traveling, if they have money, they travel to Asia and they travel to Europe. They travel all over the world in the hopes of finding a cure, they’re terminally ill. If they have no money, sadly they go home with no hope and they die. We have now a program, right to try, finally happened after, I guess as long as you’ve been a doctor, long before you became a doctor, right? They’ve been trying to get this, but we have a program where they can try these really promising medicines and you have no idea how successful this has already been. It’s incredible.
Donald Trump: (21:41)
And one of the things that really came out of it was the biggest problem for the drug companies. They didn’t want it because they didn’t want it in their sample. Because people that are that sick, they don’t want in the sample. And so we created a separate sample so it doesn’t hurt them. But one of the things that’s come out of it is if it works, what is a better testing formula than that? Some-
Donald Trump: (22:03)
What is a better testing formula than that, somebody that’s terminally ill and all of a sudden makes it? We’re having examples of that. It’s been incredible. It’s been an incredible program. I hope somebody’s going to be able to write a story about it because it’s been one of the things that I’m very proud of it. I love the name even. They have the right to try a drug that’s not going to be available for two years or three years, the terminally ill. Before, you’d say, “Well, the terminally ill. Yeah, but we don’t want to give them a drug that’s going to hurt them.” Well, they going to die. They didn’t want to give them a drug because they thought it might be dangerous. Perhaps, in some cases, it may be dangerous, but we’re having tremendous success with that program. I’m proud of it.
Donald Trump: (22:44)
Additionally, my administration has secured 90% of the world’s supply of the drug, remdesivir, which is having great impact, for the United States and research continues daily on a lot of promising treatments as I said. As we take these historic actions, we’re joined today by Americans who have already benefited from the steps my administration has already taken to reduce the cost of healthcare and prescription drugs. We’re going to have a big healthcare bill that we’re going to be putting up very shortly, and it’s going to be very complete.
Donald Trump: (23:20)
Today, what we’re doing on prescription drugs… Again, we’ll have to see what happens on August 25th. We’ll either do the favored nations or not depending on the drug companies, but what we’re putting up in a very short period of time on healthcare will be incredible. We have another one coming on immigration, tremendous bill on immigration. It’ll be, I think, something that nobody thought we would be able to get, so that’ll be great. Paul Madden is a senior citizen who relies on insulin every day. He was paying a fortune, everything, to get it. Paul, if you could… I think Paul’s in the audience. If you could please come up and say a few words about your experience. Thank you, Paul. Thank you very much.
Paul Madden: (24:14)
So you can hear me.
Donald Trump: (24:16)
Paul Madden: (24:18)
Mr. President, thank you so very much for this time to share a few key points supporting your leadership work, reducing the price of insulin, and other diabetes- related medicines used by 34 Americans each day to live healthier fuller lives. As you heard, my name is Paul Madden. I’m a Bostonian. I have lived with insulin-dependent diabetes for 59 years.
Paul Madden: (24:44)
Beginning Medicare, last year, I quickly realized that my ability to afford prescribed insulins that worked best for my health was no longer possible because of their excessive high price. Soaring costs have impacted the quality of my life. Remember that, now, about 34 million people with diabetes. It’s impacted so much I even started to use a 30-year-old insulin to survive, which does not do quite the same great job of balancing my diabetes. Your work, sir, to ensure that insulin is affordable under Medicare will help guarantee that I and millions of seniors who take insulin realize healthier, more productive and dependent, happier lives. Thank you for continuing your commitment to ensure affordability and access for all who use insulin for people with diabetes and so that our children and grandchildren will directly benefit from our improved health. Thank you.
Donald Trump: (25:57)
Thank you very much. Thank you, Paul. That’s great. It’s actually [inaudible 00:26:04] from many, many, many dollars, unaffordable by most people, to pennies, literally pennies a month. I want to thank Seema Verma. You worked so hard on that one. Seema, could you just say something about that? It was the price. Would you come up just for a second, Seema Verma, and just tell them about what we’ve done with respect to very badly-needed insulin.
Seema Verma: (26:34)
Well, the Senior Savings Model that we developed under the president’s leadership is going to reduce the cost of insulin to $35 a month for our seniors. That represents a 66% savings.
Donald Trump: (26:48)
Seema Verma: (26:48)
I can tell you the vice president and I were traveling in Pennsylvania. We had a gentleman that came up to us, and he showed us his insulin and he said, “You’re going to save me $5,000 a year,” so thank you, President Trump, for your leadership.
Donald Trump: (27:06)
Thank you very much. Great job. That’s a great job. That you. That’s a tremendous difference. We’re also joined by Andrea [Eccles 00:27:19], a dental hygienist from Brunswick, Maryland. Andrea, please come up and say a few words. Thank you. Please.
Andrea Eccles: (27:26)
Thank you, Mr. President.
Donald Trump: (27:36)
Thank you very much.
Andrea Eccles: (27:42)
My name is Andrea Eccles, and I am a dental hygienist in Brunswick, Maryland. I was widowed when my husband died in a tragic auto accident and my twin girls were four at the time. He held our family health insurance through his corporate job, and I suddenly found myself having to work full time and put my children in full-time daycare, watch my budget very closely. This is a number of years ago, and at that time, my only choice for healthcare… I work in a very small dental office, and so my only choice for healthcare at that time was what I call the unaffordable care act.
Andrea Eccles: (28:26)
I was paying very high premiums and copays and way too much for prescription drugs. Interestingly, you referenced the EpiPen. I had to purchase that be pins and inhalers. It got to the point actually where I couldn’t even afford to renew the EpiPen. I think I still have a probably 15-year-old EpiPen at my house because they’ve got to be $700. But in my case, this led-
Donald Trump: (28:57)
What did this start at? It’s 700. What did they start-
Andrea Eccles: (29:01)
The original EpiPen, I feel like it was like a $20 copay way back when I first got it, but then as each year… It just kept going up, up to the… But I incidentally ended up with all of these increases in copays and everything over time. I ended up with a over $15,000 medical debt. I’m just a regular person. I don’t have some ridiculously major illnesses or anything.
Andrea Eccles: (29:34)
But during your presidency, President Trump, my premiums have decreased exponentially, and my coverage has increased. My copays have just about disappeared or gone way down, and prescription drugs that I used to budget for myself are at $150 a month is now $15 a month, and because of you, I’m spending hundreds of dollars less a month. This type of savings makes it a really big difference for a single mother such as myself. I just want to thank you so much from the bottom of my-
Donald Trump: (30:11)
Andrea Eccles: (30:11)
… heart and for all that you do and for all of your policies that are helping all of us Americans.
Donald Trump: (30:17)
Thank you very [crosstalk 00:30:18].
Andrea Eccles: (30:18)
Donald Trump: (30:24)
[inaudible 00:30:24]. That’s really nice. I appreciate it. Some big difference. That’s not a 1% or 2%. That’s big dollars. I want to thank you both very much. Thank you very much. Today’s actions continue my administration’s relentless drive to deliver better healthcare at a lower cost. I signed an executive order to fight kidney disease. That was such a big thing. That was such a beautiful, important thing to do with more transplants and better treatment. People with kidney disease go through hell. They go through hell. Their life is hell. We’ve done a lot, and we’re very proud of it. We’ve really seen some results that are incredible.
Donald Trump: (31:09)
We dramatically expanded the telehealth for all American patients and families in telehealth in this pandemic era have been, it’s increased by, I would say, it was like 1,020%. Incredible. It’s been up at a level that nobody’s ever imagined, and it actually is very good. It’s been something that has come out of the pandemic. One of the only good things that came out of it, frankly, is people are realizing how good that is. It really worked out well.
Donald Trump: (31:44)
We strongly defended Medicare and Social Security, and we’ll always protect and we have been protecting and we’ll always will protect Republicans, totally protect preexisting conditions. Very important. Nothing’s going to happen to your preexisting protections. We ended the gag clause that prevented pharmaceuticals and pharmacists from telling patients how to buy less expensive drugs. We had a clause that if you went up to a pharmacist… Is this the correct statement to-
Speaker 1: (32:16)
Donald Trump: (32:16)
… and it’s not even believable. You couldn’t talk about price. If the man or woman behind the counter started talking about price, what happens? You take the license away? This is not even believable. Think of that. It prevented pharmacists from telling patients how to buy less expensive drugs. “We have a less expensive drug that’s just as good. I can’t talk about it.” They can’t even say that. I wonder why? Can you imagine these things? We approved a record number of affordable low-cost generics. We’ve increased generics more than any administration by many times, and many of the generics, I would say from what I’m hearing, all of the generic, sometimes people want to see a label, but they say they’re just as good-
Donald Trump: (33:03)
… people want to see a label. But they say they’re just as good as the others except you pay a lot less money. We’ve increased them more than any administration, not even close. And we capped insulin costs that we just discussed for many Medicare recipients, and for a lot of other people at just $35 a month, and it was many times that, as you’ve just heard. Right To Try, I talked about. So proud of it. Nothing matters more to me than the health and wellbeing of the American people. There’s nothing more important to me. With today’s actions, we’re ending decades of sellouts, betrayals, and broken promises from Washington. You’ve had a lot of broken promises. I would say exclusively, broken. You’ve had it. It’s been uniformed, broken promises. We’re putting patients over lobbyists, senior citizens before special interests, and we’re putting America first. I’m putting America first.
Donald Trump: (33:58)
When you look at what we’re doing with Favored Nations on the basis that it kicks in on August 25th. We’ll see. Let’s see what they have to offer. But when you think about it, what are we doing? We’re putting America first. When you hear other countries getting a much better deal on drug prices, there are people that have told me this is more important than healthcare. We’re doing healthcare, but this is more important than anything, the price of drugs. They were getting slaughtered, slaughtered by drug prices. So thank you very much. I want to thank you all for being here. I’d like to ask, if I could, Alex to come up, please, Secretary Azar, to say a few words, and then I’ll sign an Executive Order.
Donald Trump: (34:39)
I’d also like to ask the Governor of Florida. Ron, you’re going to come up and say a few words and we’ll sign up and you’ll go out and buy those drugs and save 50 or 60% for the people of Florida? And other people will be joining you. And that’s great. I want to let you. You will tell me how you do and I’d work on it really fast because now with all of the media back here, you’re under extraordinary pressure, and you never have pressure. One thing I’ll tell you about Ron, Matt will tell you, he handles pressure well. And you’re doing a great job. Thank you very much. Please. Alex.
Secretary Alex Azar: (35:12)
Well, Mr. President, thank you so much for your leadership here. You charged all of us with four goals, ending foreign free riding, improving how our federal programs pay for drugs, lowering out of pockets for our citizens, and getting list prices down. And you did your Drug Pricing Blueprint in May of 2018. Before then, every single year there were massive drug price increases, massive price inflation. Since your Drug Pricing Blueprint, that level of inflation has stopped. And that was an incredible accomplishment. But you said, “That’s not good enough. I want more, even more change for the American people.” And today you’re delivering. Allowing importation. Presidents before you have over and over again to allow the safe importation of drugs from lower cost countries. You’re the first President to deliver on it.
Secretary Alex Azar: (36:07)
You’re going to have Governor DeSantis’ program for States and tribes to import. You’re going to have a personal importation program where individuals can get their drugs low costs from abroad. And you’re going to have an insulin re-importation program so Americans can get their insulin re-imported from Canada at lower prices. You’re taking on the federal health centers. You’re taking on the issue that they are getting radical discounts on insulin and epi-pens and you’re going to make sure low income Americans get the benefit of those discounts. And you’re taking on the middlemen. $30 billion a year of concealed kickbacks to middlemen are going to now flow to Medicare patients when they show up at the pharmacy, an average of 30% discounts at out-of-pockets when they show up at a pharmacy thanks to the President’s bold action.
Secretary Alex Azar: (36:52)
And we’re going to end foreign free riding, taking on foreign socialist systems that have been living off of American seniors’ investments by overpaying in drug prices, and now they’re going to have to bear their fair share. I’ve got to tell you, what you’ve done and what you’re doing today, you’ve done more than any President in American history to take on drug prices. You’re taking on the drug companies, you’re taking on the middlemen, you’re taking on the European socialists, all for the forgotten men and women of America who show up at a pharmacy counter. And for that, I am so proud of what you were doing today. Thank you, Mr. President.
Donald Trump: (37:37)
Thank you very much. Thank you, Alex. Please, Ron, please.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (37:53)
Well, Mr. President, thanks for your leadership on this. When we started the legislative session in Florida in 2019, our Speaker of the House, Jose Oliva, was here with me. He had a big healthcare agenda. So we did some phenomenal things like expand telehealth, repeal certificate of need laws. But he really wanted to do something big on prescription drugs. I did too, because it’s obviously an issue. But I told Jose, I said, “Listen, we’ve got to find a way where we will actually be able to accomplish something. I don’t want to just throw a flare up there and then virtue signal that we’re doing something about drugs and then nothing works.” And so there was a provision of law which required the federal government’s approval. So we had a plan in Florida. We moved forward. I went to see you.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (38:36)
And this law has been on the books for at least almost 20 years, so other Presidents have had the ability to pull this lever and they didn’t do it. And I went up and asked you, and not everyone was in favor of you doing it. You had a lot of people saying, “Don’t do it.” But you were laser focused on lowering drug prices for people, particularly our seniors in the State of Florida, and that was abundantly clear. And so when Florida then moved forward, we knew we had your support. We knew that this day would eventually come. And I think that the fact that we’re standing here today, obviously, Florida, we did some groundwork, but really it’s a result of Presidential leadership. The people of Florida want to thank you for siding with us on this.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (39:20)
Like I said, this could have been done for almost 20 years and it hasn’t been done. You’re the one that got it done. So, Mr. President, thank you.
Donald Trump: (39:27)
Thank you very much, Ron. Thank you. Thank you. So we’re going to sign four very important documents. I just want to thank Amy. And congratulations, Amy, to you. That elevation is a big one. And you’re going to do fantastically. Russell, congratulations. He just got confirmed and we appreciate it. Fantastic job. And Pat, thank you very much for being here. We appreciate it. Thank you very much. Okay, let’s go. Access to affordable [inaudible 00:40:30]. Thank you, all. Thank you.
Speaker 2: (40:33)
Donald Trump: (40:42)
Thank you very much. Number two, Increase In Drug Importation. That’s great. Let Ron have that. Where’s Ron?
Governor Ron DeSantis: (41:23)
I’m right here.
Donald Trump: (41:24)
Come on, Ron. Get up here, Ron. It’s yours because that’s what you have to do, right? Importation. Lowering Prices For Patients By Eliminating Kickbacks.
Speaker 2: (41:40)
Donald Trump: (41:40)
This will go into effect on August 25th if we don’t make a deal, right? Favored Nations. Thank you all very much.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (42:40)
Thank you, Mr. President.
Speaker 3: (42:40)
Donald Trump: (42:40)
Thank you again, Matt. Thank you, all.
Speaker 3: (42:40)
I would love one.
Speaker 4: (42:40)
Donald Trump: (42:40)
You got a good deal, huh? Thank you all very much.
Speaker 5: (42:55)
Thank you, sir.
Speaker 6: (42:55)
Thank, you, sir.
Donald Trump: (42:55)
Thank you all very much. Thank you.
Speaker 7: (42:55)
Thank you, Mr. President.
Donald Trump: (42:56)