Group launches ad against potential White House plan to address drug prices through international price indexing

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) unveiled an ad campaign on Friday criticizing a potential Trump administration plan to lower drug prices by tying them to prices in other countries. 

The six-figure television and digital ad campaign was launched as President TrumpDonald John TrumpWhite House sued over lack of sign language interpreters at coronavirus briefings Wife blames Trump, lack of masks for husband's coronavirus death in obit: 'May Karma find you all' Trump authorizes reduced funding for National Guard coronavirus response through 2020 MORE is set to sign an executive order on the matter on Friday.

“Want to lower drug costs? Some in Washington wrongly think price controls are the solution. Price controls dictated by other countries are a hidden tax on manufacturers that harms innovation, competitiveness and investment in new cures,” the ad says. 

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While specifics of Trump’s plan have not been confirmed, tying prices to those in other countries by the International Price Index is the most controversial idea that's been floated and one that the president proposed in 2018. 

“Politicians shouldn’t force bad ideas from overseas on Americans that harm manufacturers’ ability to develop innovative new cures to diseases. Support access to life-saving medicines and the manufacturers who deliver them. Let’s discover the next breakthrough, not prevent it,” the ad says.

NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons said in a press release on Friday that the coronavirus pandemic shows how vital pharmaceutical innovation is to American’s health.

“Regardless of intentions, an international pricing index that ties any portion of our system to a foreign government-run health care system is an abdication of free market principles, and importing drugs from Canada poses a serious health risk, especially considering the counterfeiting challenges we already face,” Timmons said in a statement.

He added, “Manufacturers of all sectors are committed to lowering health care costs, but the answer is to pursue market-based solutions that deliver choice and flexibility.”

Asked about the executive orders earlier this week, White House spokesman Judd Deere declined to discuss specifics but said, “The President continues to explore any and all options that will deliver lower cost drugs, while ensuring we have access to the most innovative vaccines and therapeutics in the world.”