Friday, 22 June, 2018

Takeaways From Trump's Plans to Try to Lower Drug Prices

President Donald Trump speaks during a roundtable discussion on tax reform at the Cleveland Public Auditorium in Cleveland Ohio U.S. May President Donald Trump speaks during a roundtable discussion on tax reform at the Cleveland Public Auditorium in Cleveland Ohio U.S. May
Faye Gross | 12 May, 2018, 08:05

Aetna and UnitedHealth, for example, have said they will make similar changes to some plans they offer employers. "There's a lot of tinkering around the edges", the lobbyist said.

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.

Pharma watchers waited with bated breath for Friday's drug pricing speech from President Donald Trump-who famously said the industry is "getting away with murder".

As Quartz noted in the past, one reason the U.S. can't get low drug prices is because it lacks the bargaining power of a cohesive public health system, unlike in countries with socialized medicine. Instead, the plan focuses on private competition and more transparency.

As public outrage increases, there are growing calls by patient advocates and others for more government regulation of prices, a practice common in other industrialized countries. "Our patent system will reward innovation but won't be used as a shield to protect unfair monopolists", said Trump.

As the president began speaking, the stock prices of the biggest drug companies did in fact briefly decline, only to reverse course and ended the day broadly higher.

"Think about all the time everybody spends watching drug company ads, and how much information companies are required to put in them".

President Donald Trump speaks during an event about prescription drug prices with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, left, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Friday, May 11, 2018. "We're immediately going to look into having the FDA require this". Importantly, this strategic direction will move the Food and Drug Administration down its current path of trying to increase competition by paving the way for more approvals of generics, biosimilars and biologics, Klasmeier added.

Danny Cipriani named in England squad for first time in three years
Fly-half Cipriani made the last of his 14 worldwide appearances in August 2015 and has been regularly overlooked for selection. Billy Vunipola (Saracens) is recalled after recovering from injury having last played for England in the 2017 Six Nations.


Some contracts between pharmacies and pharmacy benefit managers prohibit pharmacists from telling patients when a drug they need would be cheaper if they paid in cash, rather than using their insurance. But the President's blueprint hinted at further action the government could take, mentioning reexamination of how drug rebates are now treated under safe harbor laws as a future "opportunity".

The president reserved today's harshest threats for the PBMs. Drug companies have been staunchly opposed to the idea of direct negotiation as it would nearly certainly damage profits. Back in September of 2015, specialists involved in infectious disease protested the very big overnight increase in the price of the over 60-year-old drug that is commonly used for treating a life-threatening parasitic infection.

Those ideas avoid a direct confrontation with the powerful pharmaceutical lobby, but they may also underwhelm Americans seeking relief from escalating prescription costs.

Mr. Trump promised while campaigning to attack high prescription-drug prices and he now faces mounting criticism from Democrats for not doing enough.

"Depending on how that is done, it could have a substantial effect", Allan Coukell, a drug pricing expert at Pew Charitable Trusts, told BioPharma Dive in an interview.

Give Medicare Part D drug plan issuers more power to negotiate with drug makers.

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

Trump decried the participation of what he referred to as "middlemen", meaning primarily Pharmacy Benefit Managers - intermediaries between manufacturers and doctors and pharmacies.

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