Takeaways From Trump's Plans to Try to Lower Drug Prices


And in a new poll released Thursday by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 66 percent of Republicans, 72 percent of independents and 78 percent of Democrats said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate vowing to lower prescription drug costs.

Proposed Part D reforms would allow greater benefit design flexibility; provide free generic drugs to low-income seniors; require such plans to pass on a minimum percentage of drug rebates with patients; disincentivize plans to accelerate beneficiaries into catastrophic coverage through branded drugs by establishing a new out-of-pocket maximum. But the costs of R&D actually don't explain the elevated price of US drugs compared with the rest of the world.

Though the administration can't force other governments to pay more for American drugs, it can renegotiate trade agreements and toughen intellectual property protections to have that effect, said Bettelheim.

However, although several of the administration's proposals will help lower costs, "We are concerned that some proposals would actually lead to higher costs for Americans, because they would weaken the ability of plans to negotiate lower prices". Democratic Rep. Lloyd Doggett of Texas dismissed Trump's plan as "a sugar-coated nothing pill". "Don't be fooled: President Trump and his administration are bought and paid for by Big Pharma".

Rebates do nothing to stop drug companies from increasing the underlying prices of the drugs, AHIP said. The administration is directing the FDA to consider the proposal. "It is a comprehensive process...and it will take time to reorder an entire complex multibillion dollar system of our economy", Azar said.

Health care experts said Trump's plan sounded like rhetoric rather than substantive change for an industry where prices rise substantially more than inflation each year.

"When big pharmaceutical companies' stocks spike during your big reveal on lowering prices, you're doing something wrong", Brad Woodhouse, campaign director of Protect Our Care, said in a statement following Trump's speech on Friday.

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The president slammed pharmaceutical companies and their lobbyists as well as Obamacare and foreign countries for the rising prices of prescription drugs as he outlined his reforms. "In 2017, we approved a record number of generic drug applications-more than 1,000 full or tentative approvals".

And older drugs for common ailments like diabetes and asthma routinely see price hikes around 10 percent annually. He gave no timeframe for more concrete steps.

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.

But experts are skeptical the USA can pressure foreign governments to pay more for drugs.

Trump decried the participation of what he referred to as "middlemen", meaning primarily Pharmacy Benefit Managers - intermediaries between manufacturers and doctors and pharmacies.

"It's hard to know why Germany or France of Australia would agree to something like that", said Professor Jack Hoadley of Georgetown University's Health Policy Institute. The blueprint charts a different path than Trump's initial policy goals touted during his presidential campaign, when he promised to authorize Medicare to negotiate directly with drug companies and import drugs from foreign countries, ideas that have drawn criticism from pharmaceutical companies and industry groups.

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