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Trump drops populist proposals in his policy, calls for more generic drugs

Trump drops populist proposals in his policy, calls for more generic drugs

Aetna and UnitedHealth, for example, have said they will make similar changes to some plans they offer employers. "ACS CAN will continue its advocacy efforts to ensure patients have access to quality, affordable health care coverage for all their needs, including prescription drugs". The administration has also for months been vetting the idea of providing the rebates negotiated on drug prices to seniors at the pharmacy counter. Drug companies have been staunchly opposed to the idea of direct negotiation as it would nearly certainly damage profits.

"The pricing mechanisms are arcane, and they're not easily understandable, and there are a lot of different prices along the way - and different people touching the drug at different places in the system", said Dan Mendelson, president of Avalere Health.

"We are getting tough on drugmakers that exploit our patent laws to choke out competition". "Our patent system will reward innovation but won't be used as a shield to protect unfair monopolists", said Trump. The generic companies will see further increase in the competition.

"What I'm hearing is that they're looking at a clean slate and going after everybody: the drug companies, the pharmacy benefit managers, everyone", said one health care lobbyist, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak frankly. "[There are already] some incentives in Medicare Part D drug plans to encourage drug companies to keep their prices low". HHS has 50 actions planned or under consideration, which can be done through administrative and executive action, Azar said, adding that it will likely take months to roll out numerous policies.

"Let's assume all of the other countries in the world agreed to pay the same price we do-that doesn't guarantee or assure us that the drug company would lower the price in the USA", said Stephen Shondelmeyer, head of the Department of Pharmaceutical Care and Health Systems at the University of Minnesota. 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.

The President Takes on Softer Targets.

Yet investors in PBMs didn't appear to take that threat all that seriously. UnitedHealth Group (UNH), which also owns a large PBM business, finished at 238.28, up 2%.

Speaking in the White House Rose Garden, Trump said the current system has been corrupted by greedy businesses and middlemen who have made "an absolute fortune" through "dishonest double-dealing" at the expense of US consumers who need medicine to extend or improve their lives.

The way drug prices are determined is fundamentally the same everywhere.

Trump also placed blame on foreign governments, saying they "extort unreasonably low prices" from US drugmakers, forcing companies to charge more in this country.

PhRMA immediately cautioned that any changes to the system could potentially limit access to new drugs.

"If Medicare starts negotiating with prescription drug companies, there's gonna be cost cutting".

Trump said his administration would provide new powers for Medicare's private prescription-drug plans, known as Part D, to negotiate lower prices but he would not use the purchasing power of the federal government to conduct direct negotiations. Specifically, the blueprint calls for HHS to leverage the Competitive Acquisition Program for Part B. The rebates, which are negotiated in secret by a middleman industry called pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), are not considered kickbacks under current law.

Rather than bestow price negotiation power, the administration is trying a variety of approaches to Medicare reform in hopes of curbing drug costs. Bernie Sanders told us he wanted to see. 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".

Familiar in its themes and rhetoric, the speech touched on everything from privatization to patent laws, while spotlighting plans to kill "gag rules" affecting pharmacists and to "demand fairness overseas" where Trump said foreign governments "extort unreasonably low prices from US drugmakers", putting the onus of subsidizing R&D costs squarely on Americans.

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