Trump's Plan to Lower Drug Prices: A Q&A

12 May, 2018, 08:03 | Author: Dustin Murphy
  • President Donald Trump speaks during a roundtable discussion on tax reform at the Cleveland Public Auditorium in Cleveland Ohio U.S. May

But the president's plan does not include his campaign promise campaign pledge to use the massive buying power of the federal government's Medicare program to directly negotiate lower drug prices for seniors - a pledge that freaked out Big Pharma because it could hurt their bottom lines.

"There are some things in this set of proposals that can move us in the direction of lower prices for some people", said David Mitchell, founder of Patients for Affordable Drugs. This affects the cost of the drug far more than research and development according to Robert Yates, former World Health Organization senior health economist. "We're having FDA look at how to require in direct-to-consumer [drug] ads that you have to disclose the list price of your drug". The administration plans to rein in drug prices by closing loopholes in the regulatory process, including preventing branded manufacturers from restricting access to product samples to stifle competitors, which is the main goal of the Creates Act, a bipartisan bill now pending in Congress.

President Donald Trump accused the rest of the world of "freeloading" off US drug companies on Friday, linking soaring prescription drug prices in the lower prices overseas.

"Today's proposal is an empty gesture that will not meaningfully reduce the cost of prescription drugs for everyday families", said Rep. Aetna and UnitedHealth, for example, have said they will make similar changes to some plans they offer employers.

"The market's reaction initially was to sell off.and then by the end of the speech we saw the rally across the health care sector".

But during Trump's first year in office, the pharmaceutical industry's top lobby group boosted its spend by 30% to work on patent issues, importation, Medicare negotiations and more.

Re-examine the 340B prescription drug discount program for hospitals that treat a large number of poor patients, including whether eligibility in the program needs to be changed.

Richard Fiesta, executive director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, said he believes that the Trump administration weakened its proposals by leaving out any provision that would let Medicare itself bargain for lower prices directly with the drug manufacturers.

Mandating that plans pass along rebates to patients.

The more customers a plan covers, the more leverage it has to demand lower prices from the drug maker. "And they've been very successful doing it for many, many years".

Some more substantive changes are contemplated by the blueprint, although the document didn't lay out any concrete steps for how to achieve them. Back in September of 2015, specialists involved in infectious disease protested the huge overnight increase in the price of the over 60-year-old drug that is commonly used for treating a life-threatening parasitic infection.

Trump has said that drugmakers are "getting away with murder", and has expressed an interest in negotiating drug prices, something the government isn't allowed to do for Medicare and Medicaid. "Most of us feel, 'what can we do about it?' As an individual, I don't think there's much I can do about it".

But it disagrees with the rebate policy.

Allowing Medicare to negotiate prices is unacceptable to the powerful drug lobby, which has spent tens of millions of dollars since Trump's inauguration to influence the Washington conversation around drug prices, including a high-profile TV advertising campaign portraying its scientists as medical trailblazers.

Pharmacy benefit managers are getting compensated by both drug makers and insurers.

"Our plan bans the pharmacist gag rule, which punishes pharmacists for telling patients how to save money".


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