Trump says new proposal will lower some U.S. drug prices
29 October, 2018, 11:02 | Author: Denise Dawson
Health Secretary Alex Azar said PresidentTrump's bid to tie what the US government pays for certain Medicare drugs to what other nations pay won't cripple innovation or access to vital treatments, even if the plan is one of Big Pharma's "ultimate nightmares". The administration's "American Patients First" blueprint for lowering drug prices, released in May, also proposed tackling what it calls "freeloading" by other countries.
Some Capitol Hill Republicans seemed cool to the plan, and it was unclear if Trump's move would yield political dividends.
"If the goal is overall out of pocket cost reduction for consumers, these proposals are promising and offer some of the boldest challenges to the medical establishment", said Patel, who worked on health policy in the Obama administration.
"The administration is imposing foreign price controls from countries with socialized health care systems that deny their citizens access and discourage innovation", Stephen Ubl, president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, said in a statement.
Trump's proposal would give Medicare the ability to negotiate with drug companies and take away cost-based fees for administering drugs that may encourage doctors to prescribe more expensive medications.
"Not anymore. Under our new plan the Department of Health and Human Services would allow Medicare to determine the price it pays for certain drugs based on the cheaper prices paid by other nations".
"Same company. Same box".
Currently, Medicare pays the average list price (ASP) for Part B drugs plus 6%, to compensate providers for the costs of administration and maintaining inventory - the so-called "buy and bill" model.
- Don't expect immediate rollbacks.
"All of this means that the Medicare program and its beneficiaries spent an additional $8.1 billion-47% more-on these drugs than it would have if payments were scaled by the calculated global price ratios", HHS Secretary Alex Azar said in a post on Twitter. The administration's authority to implement the rule exists under the authority of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, which was created under the Affordable Care Act, explained Rachel Sachs, an associate professor of law at Washington University in St. Louis, in a phone interview.
Donald Trump may be trying to direct voters' attention to a migrant caravan in Central America, but he also knows it's a health-care election.
The Trump administration's new plan to pay for certain drugs in Medicare based on global prices quickly set off a war with the drug industry after it was unveiled Thursday - and both sides are charging ahead with aggressive statements that the other is ignoring patients.
In tweets Thursday morning, HHS Secretary Alex Azar referred to Trump's criticisms of other governments that pay significantly less for drugs than does the U.S. government.
Drugmakers immediately protested, arguing the plan amounts to government price-setting.
In 2015, Medicare spent $26 billion on Part B drugs. In his remarks Thursday, he combined that with a swipe at foreign trade practices, framing the Medicare proposal as a way to restore fairness for American healthcare consumers.
HHS Secretary Alex Azar criticized a system in which other countries to pay significantly less for drugs than the USA government.
"Something has to change in how Medicare pays for physician-administered drugs", Azar said at the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington. "It doesn't sound like any "negotiation" I've ever had", he said.
President Donald Trump tried Thursday to make good on a campaign vow to lower drug prices - attacking "foreign freeloaders" and proposing significant changes to how Medicare pays for many drugs.
Trump's administration plans to set up an "international pricing index", in which some U.S. drug prices would be linked to what 16 other countries pay, ultimately to get to a lower price in line with what those countries are paying, Politicoreports. Officials said they're seeking input on how to select the areas of the country that will take part in the new pricing system. Azar said politics would have nothing to do with it.
This supports a recently released HHS report, which found USA drug prices were almost twice as high as those in foreign countries. Most of the drugs in the Part B plan are a kind of drug called a "biologic", or drugs made of living organisms (usually cells).
Under the plan Medicare would set prices at 126 percent of the average price other countries pay for the same drugs.
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