US president Donald Trump presented here Friday his plan to lower drug prices in the United States, a strategy that seeks, among other things, to force other countries to increase their drug prices to bring down costs at home.
"It's time to end the global freeloading once and for all. I have directed US Trade Representative Bob Lighthizer to make fixing this injustice a top priority with every trading partner," Trump said during a speech at the White House Rose Garden.
"We have great power over the trading partners; you're seeing that already. America will not be cheated any longer, and especially will not be cheated by foreign countries," the president added.
Trump argued that other countries take advantage of the US pharmaceutical industry and its investments in research and development, claiming that bringing downs costs at home would require increasing prices in foreign countries.
All of the world's 10 largest pharmaceutical companies operate globally.
Five of them are based in the United States, two in Switzerland, and one each in France, the United Kingdom and Germany.
"When foreign governments extort unreasonably low prices from US drug makers, Americans have to pay more to subsidize the enormous cost of research and development," Trump said.
"In some cases, medicine that costs a few dollars in a foreign country costs hundreds of dollars in America for the same pill, with the same ingredients, in the same package, made in the same plant," the real estate mogul said.
Trump considered that this situation was "unacceptable," claiming that "it's not going to happen any longer."
According to figures from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, US consumers spent $1,162 per person on pharmaceuticals in 2015, compared to $756 in Canada and $497 in the UK, where the government has established measures to control drug prices.