President Trump wants drug companies to post prices in ads

President Trump wants drug companies to post prices in ads

Trump made the remarks at the White House Rose Garden in a speech to introduce what he called "the most sweeping action in history" to lower drug prices.

The president plans to provide a blueprint that lays out the framework of how he will reduce drug costs, according to senior administration officials.

"It's framed as a pro-competitive agenda, and touches on a range of government programs that the administration can change through regulation - so that the president can take unilateral action", said Daniel N. Mendelson, the president of Avalere Health, a research and consulting company. So requiring them to share the discount could raise rates for everyone, while benefiting the relatively few patients who require high-cost, brand name drugs.

America's Health Insurance Plans said, "Prescription drug prices are out of control, and these high prices are set and raised year after year by drug manufacturers". The plan would seek to improve negotiation within the Medicare program, but not by using the government's clout to negotiate for Medicare as Trump has previously proposed.

"Let's assume all of the other countries in the world agreed to pay the same price we do-that doesn't guarantee or assure us that the drug company would lower the price in the USA", said Stephen Shondelmeyer, head of the Department of Pharmaceutical Care and Health Systems at the University of Minnesota. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb recently caused a stir when he suggested that the federal government could re-examine whether drug manufacturers' rebates on those list prices are kickbacks. "The middlemen became very, very rich". "Don't be fooled: President Trump and his administration are bought and paid for by Big Pharma".

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Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said during a White House briefing that numerous actions the government was considering would not require the US Congress, but could take place through executive action within months. "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. This, in turn, increases the amount of money insurers and pharmacy benefit managers collect in rebates, giving them no incentive to keep prices down. Drug prices vary widely based on a consumer's insurance plan. The generic companies will see further increase in the competition. According to statistics of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the United States has the highest annual health expenditures of any industrialized country, at almost $10,000 per capita, with drugs prices playing a major role. Some states negotiate supplemental discounts for certain drugs.

It's an approach that avoids a direct confrontation with the powerful pharmaceutical lobby, but it could also underwhelm Americans seeking relief from escalating prescription costs. "In particular we were pleased that the Administration recognized and endorsed policies that we have advocated for over the years, including increasing access to biosimilars, increasing the number of generic drugs available, and eliminating gag clauses and clawbacks - anti-patient practices that we do not engage in".

The president also spoke of ending trade practices overseas that lead to unfair prices for Americans.

Familiar in its themes and rhetoric, the speech touched on everything from privatization to patent laws, while spotlighting plans to kill "gag rules" affecting pharmacists and to "demand fairness overseas" where Trump said foreign governments "extort unreasonably low prices from USA drugmakers", putting the onus of subsidizing R&D costs squarely on Americans. That's more than twice the $497 per person spent in the United Kingdom, which has a nationalized health care system.

Incentives for lower list prices will include an FDA evaluation of rules that would require manufacturers to list drug prices in advertising and, later, taking measures to restrict the use of rebates, which the president identified as a major contributor to high list prices.

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