Election 2016: The Future of Pharma Under Trump

Note: This is not an endorsement of Donald Trump. InstantGMP™ will be reporting on various aspects of the Presidential candidates’ platforms and their potential impact.

By Kelly L. Waters, Marketing Manager (Ms. Waters does not endorse Trump, she’s just the author)

Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump released his proposed health care plan that he would enact if elected. It contains the expected bits and pieces geared towards replacing Obamacare, but the most interesting aspect of it contains his plans for pharmaceuticals: allow them to be manufactured overseas to be sold in the United States. This would shake up the entire Pharmaceutical Manufacturing industry.

Back in March, Trump talked about his plan to remove entry barriers for drug providers and streamline the approvals process to get drugs to market quicker. While the pharmaceutical industry is within the private sector, drug companies provide a public service and affect public health. Consumers should have access to imported drugs, that are proven to be reliable and safe, in order to have more options when considering treatment options.

He’s not the first Republican to voice support for this idea, Senator John McCain was on board with this plan in 2008. While the nominees have pushed for it, reimportation initiatives have failed in Congress. It was first brought to vote in 2003 as part of the bill that created Medicare Part D, in 2010 it was featured in the healthcare law, and an amendment failed in 2012; despite having bi-partisan backing.

39% of Republican voters support drug reimportation as a way to combat expensive prescription drugs according to a 2015 STAT-Harvard poll. Trump caused an internal stir with the GOP with his plan to allow Medicare to negotiate its own prescription drug prices. His most vocal dissenter was House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) who simply said, “no”. Brady cites that there are no cost-savings according to studies. It’s a topic that is regularly debated, but hard to study because the Department of Health and Human Services is banned from setting prices.

Trump believes otherwise. He claims that opening drug reimportation would force companies to negotiate (because the overseas manufactured drugs would be cheaper) and could save $300 billion. Republican, Democrat, Independent, and everything in between – we’ve all dealt with medical insurance woes, especially when it comes to prescriptions.

Another focal point of Donald Trump’s platform is greater transparency among doctors and hospitals – people should be able to shop around to find the best price for medical procedures. That would affect the medical tourism trend worldwide.

Charles D. Rosen, MD; President and Co-Founder of the Association for Medical Ethics, voices his support for competitive bidding. Drug companies own the landscape. They have a vested interest in legislation and have plenty of lobbyists putting money in policymakers’ hands. Drug companies have worked hard to make imported prescription drugs illegal. These companies want money, and would have a harder time to compete with more market players.

You never know what will happen, perhaps with drug reimportation pharma companies will have to focus more on innovation and efficacy rather than marketing. In the next piece, we’ll cover the Democratic Presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton.

Whether pharmaceuticals are manufactured in the United States or abroad, InstantGMP™ PRO can help you make the transition from paper-based or hybrid systems to Electronic Batch Records. Our software is utilized by companies worldwide to manufacture with compliance to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs). Be sure to watch our online demo or sign up for an individualized demonstration. We’ll show how InstantGMP™ PRO can integrate with your current process and more.