Trump vows again to bring down prescription drug prices

US President Donald Trump. (Evan Vucci, AP)
US President Donald Trump. (Evan Vucci, AP)

Washington – US President Donald Trump vowed again on Tuesday to bring down prescription drug prices in the United States, an issue on which his government has been accused of dragging its feet.

Trump has also raised eyebrows by naming a former pharmaceutical executive, Alex Azar, to be the secretary of health and human services.

In his State of the Union Speech, Trump said bringing drug prices down was one of his top priorities. He noted that in many countries, prices for medicines are often much lower than in the United States.

"That is why I have directed my administration to make fixing the injustice of high drug prices one of our top priorities," Trump said. "Prices will come down."

One way the government could do this is by exercising its purchasing power in the drug market. But despite Trump's pledges, his administration has shown little interest in this approach and Azar himself – formerly president of drug maker Ely Lilly – has said he opposes it, according to the news website Axios.

Prescription drugs are often cheaper in western Europe and Canada because of price controls imposed by governments, but mainstream Republicans and Azar have said they oppose such controls, Axios said.

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