Trump Blasts Drugmakers, Health Middlemen for High Prescription Prices

Trump Blasts Drugmakers, Health Middlemen for High Prescription Prices

Trump Blasts Drugmakers, Health Middlemen for High Prescription Prices

It's not immediately clear how exactly the administration could go about raising drug prices off of US soil, but the mere suggestion of concentrating on higher prices elsewhere as a catalyst to lower prices here at home was wind in the sales of the drug makers.

"First, increase competition. Increased and better negotiation". The AHA has specific recommendations to further increase competition, transparency, access and value, while fostering innovation.

USA drug prices are set by companies and subsequently renegotiated with insurers, suppliers and hospitals through rebates, discounts and other measures. "They're setting prices in other countries and we're not".

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said during a White House briefing that numerous actions the government was considering would not require the U.S. Congress, but could take place through executive action within months. Secretary Azar said the administration wants to bring the private sector into the negotiation process to facilitate that outcome.

In an effort to improve its negotiating position, some of the actions the department envisions are experimentation with value-based purchasing in federal programs and reforming Medicare Part D to give plan sponsors significantly more power when negotiating with manufacturers. Drugmakers argue that list prices do not reflect actual cost with discounts and rebates.

Democrats blasted the speech, saying that Trump is turning his back on his campaign promise to stop the pharmaceutical industry from "getting away with murder".

Azar and other Trump officials have described the pricing problem in stark terms and promised bold action.

Parts of the plan were previously released in the president's budget proposal and would require action by Congress.

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

On Friday, Trump also criticized drugmakers and middlemen such as pharmacy benefit managers.

Public outrage over drug costs has been growing for years as Americans face pricing pressure from all sides: New medicines for life-threatening diseases often launch with prices exceeding $100,000 per year. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb - another Trump official with industry ties - says this lack of transparency creates perverse incentives in which drugmakers and other health care companies all benefit from rising prices.

"We will work every day to ensure all Americans have access to the quality, affordable medication they need and they deserve", Trump 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.

Some of the administration's longer-term priorities include restricting use of rebates, creating incentives for drugmakers to lower list prices in Medicare, and investigating tools to address foreign government practices that it said could be harming innovation and driving up USA prices. "The idea that asking Germany to charge their citizens more for drugs will help Americans is a cop-out and the height of absurdity that nobody believes", Schumer said.

"Most of this can be done by executive action", Azar said, adding that "some of this will require regulatory action" that would take months, while restructuring the entire USA drug system would take years. Democrats have long favored giving Medicare that power, but Republicans traditionally oppose the idea.

Cassidy has also taken aim at prescription rebate programs, including the 340B drug pricing program, which gives certain hospitals and nonprofit clinics discounted prices on drugs. That's more than twice the $497 per person spent in the United Kingdom, which has a nationalized health care system.

The drug industry's top lobbying arm, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, spent almost $26 million to sway federal decision makers previous year, according to records tallied by Center for Responsive Politics.

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