President Trump renewed a call to tackle high drug prices during his State of the Union address Tuesday, calling price hikes an “injustice.”
“In many other countries, these drugs cost far less than what we pay in the United States,” Trump said in his speech. “That is why I have directed my administration to make fixing the injustice of high drug prices one of our top priorities. Prices will come down. Watch.”
Trump did not describe how his administration plans to do that. He also railed against high drug prices when he swore in new Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Monday. Trump said Azar, a former pharmaceutical executive, would work to bring prices down.
Trump also highlighted the record approval of new, cheaper generic drugs last year and medical devices, which Republicans have pinpointed as a solution to combating high prices.
However, critics have charged that Trump has not done enough to lower drug prices during his year in office. Trump has not embraced reforms such as giving Medicare the power to negotiate for lower prices or let Americans buy cheaper drugs from Canada.
Trump also threw his support behind an effort in the House to approve a new bill to give terminally ill people access to experimental drugs, called "right to try."
“People who are terminally ill should not have to go from country to country to seek a cure — I want to give them a chance right here at home,” he said. “It is time for the Congress to give these wonderful Americans the ‘right to try.’”
Right to try legislation, which passed the Senate last year, would let patients with no other treatment options bypass the Food and Drug Administration to get access to experimental therapies.
The legislation has been a major priority for Vice President Mike Pence.