In the 2016 U.S. presidential election, it seemed as though healthcare and pharmaceuticals took a (surprising) backseat position.
Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton took a more decisive role in that she expressed intentions to address drug pricing, while Republican nominee Donald Trump—although he agreed drug pricing was an issue—focused primarily on repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and replacing it with another policy. Though, what that substitute would be, no one knows.
According to an article in The BMJ, the “insurance of at least 22 million Americans hangs in the balance.”
Some pharmaceutical industry experts say, however, that Trump’s election is a “positive for the (pharmaceuticals) sector,” since much of the aggressive legislation is off the table. Though, other experts predict that the pharmaceutical industry will still undergo some semblance of a drug pricing reform.
In a blog, The Washington Post points out a single sentence in Trump’s healthcare platform, which has the potential to make a significant impact on the pharmaceutical and medical device industries:
“Reform the Food and Drug Administration, to put greater focus on the need of patients for new and innovative medical products.”
This single sentence bears the implication of a potential reform in getting new medicines to market—largely in speeding up that process through easing regulations.
“Critics argue that such efforts can erode standards that are in place to protect patients from drugs that don’t work and might even be harmful,” The Washington Post reports.
But, the truth of the matter is: no one knows what exactly to expect at this point in time.
According to The Washington Post:
No one is sure about the precise direction of policy under the Trump administration. But the idea of faster approval of medicines and devices has been popular, meaning this may be one of Trump’s health-plan goals to gain support from both sides of the aisle. The drug industry, which had been preparing to defend its business model and pricing under a possible Hillary Clinton presidency, may now see an opportunity instead to streamline the drug-approval process, which companies have complained can be onerous, bureaucratic and a barrier to competition.
Only time will tell how much of an impact this president will have on the pharmaceutical industry—and whether that impact is a positive one or not.
Lead image photo credit: Gage Skidmore.