Donald Trump passed no legislation to lower the costs of prescription drugs during his four years in office.
Trump did sign an Executive Order meant to lower the cost of insulin and epinephrine for a small subset of Medicare beneficiaries at the end of December 2020, but it hasn’t yet gone into effect.
The Biden Administration paused it for 60 days to review it to see if they could expand it to a broader number of people and improve on the savings.
Lowering the cost of medications like Insulin and Epi-pens was a campaign issue on which Joe Biden was elected.
Because Donald Trump had quickly signed a number of Executive Orders toward the end of his presidency, on Wednesday, White House chief of staff Ron Klain directed agencies to pause those orders so they could be reviewed for “fact, law, or policy concerns."
Klain’s order directs the administration to immediately withdraw rules that have been sent to the Office of Financial Research but not yet published in the Federal Register. For those that have been published, but are not yet effective, members are directed to "consider postponing the rules' effective dates for 60 days.
Trump’s executive order on insulin and epinephrine fell into that last category.
Vice President Harris unveiled the Administration’s new plan to combat prescription drug prices this week.
Harris’ plan would allow the federal government to establish a “fair price” for what pharmaceutical companies can charge for prescription drugs, which will be based on the average price of comparable drugs from countries like the UK, France, Australia and Japan. If companies sell drugs above the set fair price, their profits from selling the at the higher cost will be taxed at a rate of 100% and that money will go back to consumers through a mail-in rebate.
Harris also lays out possible executive action steps if Congress doesn’t act within 100 days, including plans to investigate pharmaceutical companies that have overpriced drugs, allow a direct importation of lower-cost drugs from foreign countries and make investigating pharmaceutical companies a priority at the Department of Justice. For the worst offenders of high-priced drugs, Harris proposed to “license a company’s patent to lower the cost” through “march-in” rights under existing law.