RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – President Trump’s executive order regarding drug prices could cost jobs in North Carolina and hinder the search for new drugs, warns the head of the business trade group North Carolina Biosciences Organization.
“As the number two pharmaceutical manufacturing state in the nation, our economy will be impacted disproportionately by the President’s order,” said NCBIO President Sam Taylor in a statement Monday.
“The order will also hurt North Carolina’s innovative young pharmaceutical companies by discouraging venture investment in drug discovery and development. The pharmaceutical innovation ecosystem that North Carolina has for so long nurtured would lose the financial backing it needs to create new companies and commercialize new pharmaceutical innovations.”
At most immediate risk are plans for expansion in the state, Taylor said.
“The President’s executive order could cause these companies to rethink their manufacturing priorities,” said Taylor of plans announced over the last 18 months to add more than 2,000 jobs and invest some $2.2 billion.
Trump’s order calls for Medicare to test paying the same price for certain expensive prescription drugs that other developed countries do, a “most-favored-nation price.” Other nations typically pay far less for medications, in large part because their governments often determine the cost — which runs counter to Republicans’ allegiance to the free market system.
Though Trump has slammed socialist health care systems that exist in other countries and attacked his Democratic rivals for seeking to implement such a setup here, he celebrated linking US prices to peer nations’ lower costs.
“Just signed a new Executive Order to LOWER DRUG PRICES! My Most Favored Nation order will ensure that our Country gets the same low price Big Pharma gives to other countries,” he tweeted Sunday. “The days of global freeriding at America’s expense are over … and prices are coming down FAST! Also just ended all rebates to middlemen, further reducing prices.”
NCBIO noted that the order “comes at a time when pharmaceutical innovation has more immediate potential than at any time in recent memory. Breakthroughs in the technologies of gene synthesis, gene therapy and gene editing have opened the doors to a vast array of treatments that will mitigate and, in some cases, even cure previously intractable diseases. The order could impair development many of these new products, leaving patients to endure often debilitating health conditions.”
(CNN contributed to this report.)