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Trump takes swipe at drug pricing fix with new blueprint

Trump takes swipe at drug pricing fix with new blueprint

"We support the administration's efforts to tackle out-of-control drug costs, which include addressing the root cause: skyrocketing list prices set by pharmaceutical companies", Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini said in a statement following the president's address.

Senator Ron Wyden, also a Democrat, said the proposals amount to asking drug companies nicely to lower their prices with zero accountability.

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. Drugmakers argue that list prices do not reflect actual cost after discounts and rebates.

Vt. Sen. Patrick Leahy said, "Today's announcement was more of the same- a flurry of soothing words and wheel spinning, and no willingness or courage to take on price gouging and anti-competitive behavior by the giant drug firms".

But Trump has since abandoned ideas to lower drug costs he supported during the campaign, including allowing the governments Medicare plan for older Americans to negotiate prices directly with drugmakers, and enabling USA consumers to import lower-cost medicines from other countries. "[Doctors are] paid now on list price plus a markup; they send us a bill and we write a check", he said.

- Reconsidering how Medicare pays for some high-priced drugs administered at doctors' offices.

At the same time, while Trump voiced concern for health care affordability Friday, his administration has taken numerous other steps in recent months that patient and consumer advocates say are putting medical care further out of reach for millions.

It would mostly spare the pharmaceutical industry he previously accused of "getting away with murder".

Gottlieb noted that the FDA plans to continue to work to promote drug competition and access for patients.

The blueprint, which echoes numerous ideas first put forward in Trump's FY 2019 proposed budget and the White House Council of Economic Advisers drug pricing report, focuses on four areas: lowering high list prices set by manufacturers; equipping government and private payers with new tools to negotiate prices; lowering out-of-pocket costs for consumers and taking steps to stop other countries from "freeloading" off of American innovation.

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.

HHS will have the Food and Drug Administration direct drug makers to disclose their prices in television ads.

"We will have tougher negotiation, more competition and much lower prices at the pharmacy counter and it will start to take effect very soon".

Some more substantive changes are contemplated by the blueprint, although the document didn't lay out any concrete steps for how to achieve them.

Trump's speech singled out foreign governments that "extort unreasonably low prices from US drugmakers" using price controls and said USA trade representatives would prioritize the issue in trade deals. "A study past year by the industry journal Health Affairs found that the premiums that drugmakers earn by charging more for US medicines far outweigh the amount they spend on developing new products".

Trump called his plan the "most sweeping action in history to lower the price of prescription drugs for the American people".

"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 annual total was a record for the group.

(NYSE:ESRX) also rose, climbing about 2.6 percent to close at $72.80 on Friday, as the company struck a populist tone in a statement saying that it "stands up to drug companies and drug stores to make sure that everyone - patients, employers, health plans, unions and public programs - get a fair deal for the money they spend".


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