Trump meets with pharma executives amid drug pricing push

Trump meets with pharma executives amid drug pricing push
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpRouhani says Iran will never seek nuclear weapons Trump downplays seriousness of injuries in Iran attack after US soldiers treated for concussions Trump says Bloomberg is 'wasting his money' on 2020 campaign MORE on Wednesday met with pharmaceutical executives at the White House as the industry fights mounting efforts to lower drug prices.

Steve Ubl, the CEO of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), as well as other drug company executives, used the meeting to voice their opposition to a White House-backed bill moving through the Senate Finance Committee that would lower drug prices.

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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions Cheney's decision not to run for Senate sparks Speaker chatter Mark Mellman: A failure of GOP leadership MORE (R-Calif.) and Rep. Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clash over rules This week: Raucous rules fight, opening arguments in impeachment trial White House appoints GOP House members to advise Trump's impeachment team MORE (R-N.C.), the chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus and a close Trump ally, also attended the meeting. 

Trump has railed against high drug prices and has put forward a proposal to tie Medicare drug prices to lower prices in other countries, which PhRMA strongly opposes. Trump has also said he is working on an executive order on drug prices, though details are not clear.

The White House downplayed the implications of the meeting with drug company executives, saying Trump is not negotiating with them and that it was McCarthy who asked for the meeting.

"At leader McCarthy's request, the president hosted a meeting with PhRMA," the White House said. "The president does not intend to negotiate with PhRMA but listened respectfully."

McCarthy's office did not respond to a request for comment.

Politico first reported the meeting.

"We expressed our desire to ensure policy reforms result in immediate and meaningful savings for patients at the pharmacy counter, and we reiterated our opposition to the current Senate Finance Committee legislation because it fails to achieve this shared goal and imposes harmful price controls in Medicare Part D," PhRMA said in a statement.

The Finance Committee is scheduled to vote on the legislation on Thursday. Some GOP senators, as well as PhRMA, are objecting to a measure in the bill that would limit price increases in Medicare's prescription drug program, called Part D, calling the measure price controls.

Democrats and Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyOvernight Health Care: Justices won't fast-track ObamaCare case before election | New virus spreads from China to US | Collins challenger picks up Planned Parenthood endorsement Mnuchin warns UK, Italy of tariffs if digital tax plans are implemented GOP can beat Democrats after impeachment — but it needs to do this one thing MORE (R-Iowa) say the provision is needed to bring down drug prices.