Trump lays out plan for reducing drug prices

President Donald Trump speaks during a roundtable discussion on tax reform at the Cleveland Public Auditorium in Cleveland Ohio U.S

The government may ask the drug makers to disclose prices in their TV advertising.

"We commend President Trump and his administration for their focus on this essential issue", America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), a lobbying group for the health insurance industry, said in a statement. It cuts $1.6 billion from the safety net and does nothing to reduce drug prices for seniors and the disabled. "A lot of good questions in the plan but very little actual action, especially against PBMs", Walid Gellad, who heads the Center for Pharmaceutical Policy and Prescribing at the University of Pittsburgh, tweeted.

Trump considered that this situation was "unacceptable", claiming that "it's not going to happen any longer". "Trump's few tough words for pharma are a cover-up for the sweetheart deal he really is offering the megacorporations that raise prices on Americans by the day", said Peter Maybarduk, MD, director, Public Citizen's Access to Medicines program.

In a round of television interviews Friday morning, Alex M. Azar II, the secretary of health and human services, said the president's plan included "over 50 different initiatives - very sophisticated, the kind of thing you'd expect from a CEO like Donald Trump, getting at the real heart of the business problem".

Polls show health-care costs are.

'Everyone involved in the broken system - the drugmakers, insurance companies, distributors, pharmacy benefit managers, and many others - contribute to the problem, ' Trump said. The result would be lower pharmacy costs for patients - a key Trump campaign promise.

Even Trump's tough talk about going after other nations that negotiate lower prices for their citizens - which the president labeled "free loading" - was accompanied only by instructions to his trade negotiators to raise this issue in talks with USA trading partners. Insurers often receive big discounts for pricey, brand-name drugs from manufacturers.

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Trump also said that the administration will attempt to make it easier for more over-the-counter drugs to be made available, thus reducing the need for as many prescriptions. The rule should be that only those drugs that haven't increased their list price for 18 months get to be in a protected class. "[Doctors are] paid now on list price plus a markup; they send us a bill and we write a check", he said. "We've all noticed the increase in the amount we have to pay at the pharmacy counter". A Johns Hopkins analysis found that on average, the savings from passing rebates to seniors would be $264 over the span of a year, but that those benefits would be concentrated among the small fraction of people who take very-high-cost drugs. "This is not acceptable".

President Trump has introduced a strategy he says will lower prescription drug prices for consumers by focusing on private-sector incentives. Federal health plans would also test ways to pay for drugs based on their effectiveness.

The federal government now pays providers 6% more than the average price of those medicines. He gave no timeframe for more concrete steps. "Health policy experts like this idea because it reduces the burden on patients with serious chronic illnesses and spreads the expense of needed medications across the entire insured population", The New York Times said. Medicare will continue to be prohibited from directly negotiating prices by law. "Right now, the incentive is for the drug company to have [a high list price] and negotiate rebates [from that]". "Simply put, other nations are free-riding, or taking unfair advantage of the United States' progress in this area". Trump is promising their number one priority: trade deals that boost prices overseas.

As Quartz noted in the past, one reason the USA can't get low drug prices is because it lacks the bargaining power of a cohesive public health system, unlike in countries with socialized medicine.

Some of the administration's longer-term priorities include restricting use of rebates, creating incentives for drugmakers to lower list prices, and investigating tools to address foreign government practices that it said could be harming innovation and driving up U.S. prices.

A senior administration official, speaking on background, said that Trump will unveil an "American Patients First" blueprint that he called "the most comprehensive plan to tackle prescription drug affordability".

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