(Reuters) – Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Wednesday said President Donald Trump wants to go further in lowering drug prices, an issue he campaigned on during the 2016 presidential race.
“HHS is currently working with the President on a comprehensive strategy to solve these problems,” Azar said in a speech at World Health Care Congress. “We’ll be building on the proposals in the President’s budget, but he wants to go further.”
The Republican president has said pharmaceutical companies are “getting away with murder” and has vowed to lower prescription drug prices. But the administration’s proposals so far have been modest and do not go after drug companies. Congressional action on the issue is seen as unlikely.
Last week, Trump postponed a speech on lowering prescription drug prices to a date in the near future.
Evercore ISI analyst said it was not clear whether new proposals might come in next week’s speech or possibly later, but Azar’s comments had add some uncertainty.
“Ultimately there are administrative limits on what actions Trump could take on drug pricing in the near term in the absence of legislation, while we think Congress is unlikely to pass any significant healthcare bills before the November midterms.”
(Reporting by Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr)