The New Plan for Taking on Drug Pricing

May 23, 2018

The White House recently announced a proposal on drug pricing for consumers, CNBC reports.

“Trump's plan, called ‘American Patients First,’ seeks to increase competition, improve negotiation and create incentives to lower list prices of prescription drugs and out-of-pocket costs for consumers. Some of the steps it outlines are rebate-sharing in Medicare drug plans, promoting generics and copycat version of biologic drugs and requiring drug manufacturers to publish list prices for drugs in television advertisements.”

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“However, it stops short of allowing Medicare to directly work with manufacturers on prices, something Trump had called for on the campaign trail but Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, a former Eli Lilly executive, has opposed.

‘Everyone involved in the broken system — the drugmakers, insurance companies, distributors, pharmacy benefit managers and many others — contribute to the problem,’ Trump said. ‘Government has also been part of the problem because previous leaders turned a blind eye to this incredible abuse.’

Despite saying everyone's to blame, Trump focused his harshest comments on middlemen, specifically pharmacy-benefit managers, which negotiate discounts with manufacturers.”

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said he's directing Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb to look into requiring drug manufacturers to publish list prices in drug advertisements.

"‘Think about all the time everybody spends watching drug company ads, and how much information companies are required to put in them,’ Azar said. ‘If we want to have a real market for drugs, why not have them disclose their prices in the ads, too?’"

The proposal has already raised voices of concern and support.

“Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America CEO Stephen Ubl said in a statement some proposals could help make medicines more affordable, but others could ‘disrupt coverage and limit patients' access to innovative treatments.’ BIO CEO Jim Greenwood said he also has concerns about the plan.

America's Health Insurance Plans commended parts of the plan but said it's concerned that some could actually lead to higher premiums. Alliance of Community Health Plans CEO Ceci Connolly thanked the administration for pressing the issue of ‘sky-high’ drug prices.

Democrats attacked on Friday for ditching his promised push for direct negotiation for Medicare drug prices in the plan he announced. The idea is the government would be able to assert its vast buying power to push for lower prices for Medicare recipients.”

Read the rest of this story on CNBC.com.

Do you think a change is needed in drug-pricing? Will this help or hurt patients? Let us know in the comments or join the conversation on our Facebook page.


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