Medicine

The Trump administration takes on drug prices

The Trump administration takes on drug prices

"President Trump promised that he would bring down drug prices and put American patients first", HHS Secretary Alex Azar stated in an official press release.

All countries in Europe look to other countries on drug pricing to some degree.

In a speech Thursday at the Department of Health and Human Services, Trump said his administration would be taking the "revolutionary" move of allowing Medicare to directly negotiate prices with drug companies, which he says have "rigged" the system, causing United States patients to pay more for their medicines.

In a major policy speech on drug process, Trump said the American middle class is effectively funding virtually all drug research and development for the entire planet.

Trump has criticized foreign governments with single-payer healthcare systems, such as the UK and France, that are able to negotiate prices directly with drug companies and often pay far less for the same medications than the United States.

"Same company. Same box".

He said under the model, the US will still be paying about 126 percent of foreign prices.

Many large pharmas have limited exposure to Part B, which encompasses drugs administered in doctor's offices or hospital outpatient clinics.

The administration has also unveiled several plans seeking to curb the cost of Part B drugs, which can be among the highest-priced medicines, in recent months.

- Don't expect immediate rollbacks. But his populist proposal didn't appear likely to budge the national debate around health care, just days ahead of the midterm elections.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services plan to experiment with a new way of setting prices for most drugs administered by doctors through Medicare's Part B program. "This happens because the government pays whatever price the drug companies set without any negotiation whatsoever".

The new payment model will affect just drugs purchased and dispensed by doctors themselves under Medicare's Part B program - not medicines purchased at pharmacies. "These proposals are to the detriment of American patients".

U.S. President Donald Trump, taking aim at "global freeloading", said on Thursday his administration would seek to lower prescription drug prices by basing what the government's Medicare program pays for some medications on the lower prices paid in other countries.

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The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation by name. As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. "This egregious conduct is abhorrent".

Drug pricing expert Peter Bach of Memorial Sloan Kettering's Center for Health Policy and Outcomes called the plan "a pretty substantive proposal" but one that faces "serious political challenges".

USA residents pay more than patients an all other high-income countries for medications, according to a 2017 study by the Commonwealth Fund. But that's "quite literally the opposite of what is being proposed".

"We don't negotiate because we don't use the threat of walking away and other countries do", said Rachel Sachs, an associate professor of law at Washington University.

Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill were dismissive. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of NY said "it's hard to take the Trump administration and Republicans seriously about reducing health care costs for seniors two weeks before the election".

But PhRMA, the drug industry's main trade group, came out strongly against Thursday's proposal.

"The administration is imposing foreign price controls from countries with socialized health care systems that deny their citizens access and discourage innovation", said Stephen Ubl, CEO of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).

This supports a recently released HHS report, which found us drug prices were almost twice as high as those in foreign countries.

But instead of an add-on payment tied to the cost of the drug, providers will receive a fixed payment instead, therefore eliminating the incentive to prescribe a more costly drug.

"Something has to change in how Medicare pays for physician-administered drugs", Azar said at the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington.

According to HHS's projections, if they come into effect, the rule would save $17.2 billion over five years. Beneficiaries would save an estimated $3.4 billion through lower cost-sharing.

Changing up the incentives for doctors, so they're paid based on a flat fee rather than a percentage of the price of a drug, as a way to push them to use lowe- cost drug options. Azar said there would be no changes to Medicare benefits and no restrictions on patient access.

"This is not the end of the road, the end of the journey", he said. But it's largely been business as usual for drugmakers even as Trump has predicted "massive" voluntary price cuts.