WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s long-awaited plan to bring down drug prices, unveiled Friday, will mostly spare the pharmaceutical industry he previously accused of “getting away with murder” and instead focus on increasing private competition and requiring more openness about costs.
In Rose Garden remarks at the White House, Trump called his plan the “most sweeping action in history to lower the price of prescription drugs for the American people.” But 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.
That idea has long been supported by Democrats but is a non-starter for drugmakers and most Republicans in Congress.
Instead, the administration will pursue a raft of old and new measures intended to improve competition and transparency in the notoriously complex drug pricing system. Those include a proposal requiring drugmakers to disclose the cost of their medicines in their television advertisements. Health Secretary Alex Azar said the Food and Drug Administration would immediately examine requiring that information in TV ads.
The proposals also include banning the pharmacist “gag rule,” which Trump said prevents druggists from telling customers about lower-cost options so they can save money, and speeding up the approval process for over-the-counter medications so patients can buy more drugs without prescriptions.
It’s an approach that avoids a direct confrontation with the powerful pharmaceutical lobby, but it could also underwhelm Americans seeking relief from escalating prescription costs.
Perhaps the most threatening idea under consideration is to give the private health insurers who run Medicare plans more negotiating power with drugmakers. But administration officials offered few specifics on how that might work.
“Consumers are ultimately going to be the judge of this announcement,” said Dan Mendelson, a health care consultant. “If they don’t address the cost that patients see at the pharmacy …read more
Source:: Deseret News – U.S. & World News