Tump made the comments last night, contrasting Ford and Fiat-Chrysler’s recent pledges to invest in US manufacturing with the trend, he claims, that has seen pharmaceutical companies move production outside the country.
“We have to get our drug industry coming back. The drug industry has been disastrous, they are leaving left and right. They supply our drugs but they don’t make them here, to a large extent.”
Trump, who has criticised the auto industry for creating jobs overseas rather than in the US, did not say what role, if any, he had played in convincing either Ford or Fait to invest in the US.
Neither did the President-elect detail how he will go about bringing drug production back to the US.
US made meds
Trump’s comments about a US manufacturing exodus are at odds with analysis by the Department of Commerce.
According to a 2016 report while the US is the largest importer of drugs – buying $86bn worth of medicines from overseas in 2015 – most of the $333bn worth of finished pharmaceuticals used in the country each year are manufactured locally.
In addition, a 2014 study from industry group PhrMA suggested more than 810,000 people are directly employed by the biopharmaceutical industry in the US, with around four million people being employed indirectly.
In contrast, the majority of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) used in the US are made outside the country.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says 80% of the actives used in the country come from overseas, with manufacturers in India and China being the biggest suppliers.
Getting away with murder
Trump also touched on drug prices during the conference, suggesting that his administration plans to introduce measures to lower the cost of medicines in the US.
He said: “The other thing we have to do is create new bidding procedures for the drug industry because they are getting away with murder.”
Trump went on to cite drug industry lobbying as an issue he intends to address.
“Pharma. Pharma has a lot of lobbies, a lot of lobbyists and a lot of power. And there is very little bidding on drugs. We are the largest buyer of drugs in the world and…yet we don’t bid properly and we’re going to start bidding and we’re going to save billions of dollars over a period of time.”
US law prevents the government from negotiating with companies on the price of medicines for seniors using Medicare.
PhRMA president and CEO, Stephen J. Ubl told us "Our industry is committed to working with President-Elect Trump and Congress to improve American competitiveness and protect American jobs.
"The US biopharmaceutical industry leads the world in medical innovation. Biopharmaceutical companies invest more than $70bn a year in research and development in the United States – more than any other industry in America – and are responsible for 4.5 million American jobs. Breakthrough medicines are revolutionizing how we treat disease, saving patient lives, reducing health care costs and improving public health.
Ubl added that: "Today, medicines are purchased in a competitive marketplace where large, sophisticated purchasers aggressively negotiate lower prices. We look forward to working with the new administration and Congress to advance proactive, practical solutions to improve the marketplace and make it more responsive to the needs of patients."