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 TrumpTrump faces high stakes in meeting with Erdoğan amid impeachment drama Democrats worry they don't have right candidate to beat Trump Trump threatening to fire Mulvaney: report 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 McCarthyHouse Republicans prepare for public impeachment proceedings with mock hearing Live updates on impeachment: Schiff fires warning at GOP over whistleblower Congress hunts for path out of spending stalemate MORE (R-Calif.) and Rep. Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsHouse Republicans prepare for public impeachment proceedings with mock hearing Live updates on impeachment: Schiff fires warning at GOP over whistleblower Democrats sharpen their message on impeachment 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: Top health official defends contract payments to Trump allies | Vaping advocates confident Trump will turn from flavor ban | Sanders gets endorsement from nurses union McConnell, GOP leaders say they won't be watching House impeachment hearing Poll: 1 in 5 US adults report trouble affording prescription drugs MORE (R-Iowa) say the provision is needed to bring down drug prices.