WASHINGTON- U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday will sign an executive order aimed at boosting American drug manufacturing and lowering drug prices, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said as the administration continues to grapple with the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The order, first reported by USA Today, "establishes Buy American rules for govt. agencies, strips away regulatory barriers to domestic pharmaceutical manufacturing, and catalyzes the Advanced Manufacturing technologies needed to keep drug prices low," Navarro tweeted.
It will allow the Department of Health and Human Services to use a 1950 law to procure certain "essential" medicines and other equipment from U.S. companies, although it does not list specific products, USA Today reported, citing the White House.
The order also directs the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency to give priority status to U.S. drug ingredient manufacturers during their regulatory review process, and addresses counterfeit medicines sold by third-party sellers, according to the report.
So far, more than 157,000 people in the United States have died from COVID-19 - about 1,000 each day - with 4.8 million known COVID-19 cases.
Trump is expected to sign the order later on Thursday, USA Today said. The Republican president is scheduled to travel to Ohio to visit a Whirlpool manufacturing plant and hold a fundraiser for his re-election campaign before traveling to his New Jersey golf resort for the weekend, according to the White House.
Representatives for the White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
(Reporting by Susan Heavey; editing by Jonathan Oatis) ((202-898-8300; Reuters Messaging: firstname.lastname@example.org))