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Trump's Drug Pricing Plan Praised, Panned, Parsed

Trump's Drug Pricing Plan Praised, Panned, Parsed

Trump's Drug Pricing Plan Praised, Panned, Parsed

Maumee Senior, Pam Morbeck says the rising price of prescription drugs is a challenge for her and her husband.

"When foreign governments extort unreasonably low prices from USA drug makers, Americans have to pay more to subsidize the enormous cost of research and development", Trump said. Medicare Part D drug spending grew almost 45% between 2013 and 2016, and more beneficiaries are reaching catastrophic coverage of at least $5,000 out-of-pocket costs-up 50% from 2013 to 2016, according to a new study from Avalere.

It does not include his campaign pledge to use the massive buying power of the government's Medicare program to directly negotiate lower prices for seniors.

Health care analysts and observers were - well, lets' just say underwhelmed by Trump's presentation, with many saying that the details of the blueprint didn't live up to the president's tough talk. "If they don't address the cost that patients see at the pharmacy counter it's not going to be seen as responsive".

President Trump presented a broad-brush outline of how his administration hopes to stem the decades-long increase in prescription drug prices and spending, in a speech Friday in the Rose Garden of the White House.

As a candidate, Trump railed against the pharmaceutical industry, accusing companies of "getting away with murder". But as president he has shied away from major reforms and staffed his administration with appointees who have deep ties to the industry, including health secretary, Alex Azar, a former top executive at Eli Lilly.

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

Drugmakers have justified high prices by citing the costs of research and development, implying that the U.S.is the only country paying to create innovative medicines that then benefit the rest of the world.

CMS has said that giving rebates directly to consumers could make premiums go up for everyone, and also increase the total federal spending on Medicare Part D, by about $42 billion.

Other parts of the plan were previously released in the president's budget proposal and would require action by Congress. Those steps include: requiring insurers to share rebates from drug companies with Medicare patients and changing the way Medicare pays for high-priced drugs administered at doctors' offices.

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The agency said it is adopting policies "to reduce gaming of statutory and regulatory requirements to help ensure that drug companies don't use anticompetitive strategies to delay development and approval of important generic drugs".

The administration will pursue a variety of old and new measures, but majority could take months or years to implement, and none would stop drugmakers from setting sky-high initial prices. But administration officials offered few specifics on how that might work.

Public outrage over drug costs has been growing for years as Americans face pricing pressure from multiple sources: New medicines for life-threatening diseases often launch with prices exceeding $100,000 per year. The government may ask the drug makers to disclose prices in their TV advertising. He said he would make it easier for pharmacists to inform patients of cheaper alternatives and would speed the approval of over-the-counter drugs "so that patients can get more medicines without prescription".

"There are some things in this set of proposals that can move us in the direction of lower prices for some people", said David Mitchell, founder of Patients for Affordable Drugs. The move includes an FDA evaluation of whether drug manufacturers should be required to list prices in their advertising, as well as longer-term efforts to change the imbalance between what USA consumers pay for drugs developed in the United States versus what foreigners pay in their own countries, where drug prices are often substantially lower.

"It's unfair and it's ridiculous and it's not going to happen any longer", he added, indicating that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer would be calling on America's trading partners to insist they pay more for prescription drugs. "They're setting prices in other countries and we're not".

In countries with centralized health care systems, including Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan and most nations in the European Union, a single entity negotiates on behalf of all the country's residents.

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

It said the administration's immediate actions would include allowing commercial plans that administer Medicare Part D prescription drug benefits for seniors more power to negotiate prices with drug makers.

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

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