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Trump Calls Reducing Drug Prices One of His 'Top Priorities for the Year'

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On Tuesday night, President Trump gave his first State of the Union speech since taking office last year. Trump addressed many issues facing the nation, including jobs, infrastructure, immigration and health care.

Trump addressed people living with terminal illnesses, stating that those living with life-threatening conditions should have immediate access to experimental therapies.

“People who are terminally ill should not have to go from country to country to seek a cure,” Trump said. “I want to give them a chance right here at home. It’s time for Congress to give these wonderful, incredible Americans the right to try.”

Trump also spoke about the Food and Drug Administration, and the agency’s recent push to approve more new and generic drugs and medical devices.

The president added that one of his “top priorities” for 2018 is to lower drug prices.

One of my greatest priorities is to reduce the price of prescription drugs. In many other countries these drugs cost far less than what we pay in the United States and is very, very unfair. That is why I’ve directed my administration to make fixing the injustice of high drug prices one of my top priorities for the year. And prices will come down substantially. Watch.

Despite calls to make health care more accessible, the Trump administration has taken multiple steps to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and has put Medicaid funding in jeopardy. Trump’s tax bill removed the individual mandate — requiring people to sign-up for insurance or pay a fee — as of 2019, which experts believe will destabilize the marketplace and drive up premiums. According to the Congressional Budget Office, under the new tax bill, Medicaid could face an annual cut of $25 billion.

Trump also addressed the opioid epidemic. “My administration is committed to fighting the drug epidemic and helping get treatment for those in need for those who have been so terribly hurt,” he said. “The struggle will be long and it will be difficult but as Americans always do in the end we will succeed we will prevail.” 

Trump did not mention those who use opioids for chronic pain or how the epidemic would be addressed. In August, Trump called the opioid epidemic a national emergency, a declaration which freed up only $57,000 from the U.S.’s Public Health Emergency Fund.

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Originally published: January 31, 2018
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