April 30, 2019 / 5:56 PM / 6 months ago

Trump, Democratic leaders to meet on drug prices soon: White House

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks at a Make America Great Again rally at the Resch Center Complex in Green Bay, Wisconsin, U.S. April 27, 2019. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump will meet with congressional Democratic leaders soon to discuss drug prices, the White House said on Tuesday following infrastructure talks with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer.

The White House said in a statement that the three agreed to meet “in the near future” over the health issue and that Trump “feels there is a long way to go” to lower drug costs, without elaborating.

The Trump administration made lower medication prices a top issue in his presidential campaign but has yet to unveil any detailed plan since taking office in January 2017.

House Democrats, who took over the U.S. House of Representatives this year following election gains due in part to their vows to protect healthcare, have launched an investigation into pharmaceutical industry pricing practices and held hearings on the issue.

The Republican-led U.S. Senate has also held hearings on the issue and its Judiciary committee plans to hold another next week. Any legislative effort to rein in pharmaceutical costs would have to pass both chambers and win Trump’s support to become law.

Several drugmakers temporarily froze price increases last year after criticism from Trump, but they started raising prices again at the start of this year, albeit at lower levels than in previous years.

Reporting by Jeff Mason; writing by Susan Heavey and Michael Erman; editing by Jonathan Oatis, Chizu Nomiyama and Richard Chang

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