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Trump health secretary pushes back against Medicare drug negotiation

Trump health secretary pushes back against Medicare drug negotiation

"Trump, during his Friday speech, unveiled for the first time a blueprint to lower drug prices and reduce out-of-pocket costs for USA consumers". "One approach is to move them all [into Part D, but we are also] going to be conducting.an up-to-date study of USA pricing and negotiations for Part B drugs, and we might highlight drugs where we are getting a worse deal compared to other industrialized nations", and maybe conduct a pilot program for purchasing those drugs. I've been a drug company executive - I know the exhausted talking points: the idea that if one penny disappears from pharma profit margins, American innovation will grind to a halt. "We believe Americans should know which drug companies are gouging consumers and which ones are being good actors for our communities". The White House plan further supports FDA policies for developing more complex generic dosage forms and for deterring brand firms from blocking generic-drug makers from access to innovator products needed for bioequivalence testing.

Azar acknowledged that shifting more drugs to a payment system based on negotiation would require the use of certain private-sector entities, which Trump on Friday described as "middlemen" the administration would eliminate.

"It's time to shed light on these practices and call out the manufacturers who may be abusing the rules that built our free market for drugs", Azar said. He said it would take years to restructure the USA drug system. "That was simply cramming down the 106% of average sales price to a different flat fee reimbursement", Azar said. The blueprint includes many reforms that are favorable to these companies.

Then there's the problem of ensuring that drugs purportedly coming from Canada or Europe actually would be coming from there.

Trump also blasted "middlemen" in the pharmaceutical industry who "pocket rebates and discounts that should be passed on to consumers and patients". "You can't improve competition and choice in our drug markets with gimmicks like these - you have to boost competition and price transparency". "I doubt that the Trump administration will go so far as to mandate or force this program, which would basically nearly mimic the Obama administration's attempts around the mandatory Part B demonstration program that was abandoned due to stakeholder rancor", Patel said.

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Banning a pharmacist "gag rule", which prevents druggists from telling customers when they can save money by paying cash instead of using their insurance. Peter Maybarduk, director of Public Citizen's Access to Medicines program, said the president's plan does little to make medicine more affordable. Azar wants FDA to look at whether it can require disclosure of list prices as part of "fair balance" requirements. CMS will unveil updates this week to its drug-pricing dashboard, providing more detail about which companies are raising those prices. And he called for "fairness overseas", arguing that other countries "extort unreasonably low prices from USA drug-makers", thus driving up prices here.

Sanders criticized Trump's reference to overseas drug prices. Azar framed the policies as bolder than those of any previous president and "nothing short of a complete restructuring" of the industry. ABP-215 (bevacizumab-awwb; Mvasi), a biosimilar for bevacizumab (Avastin) from manufacturers Amgen and Allergan, became the first biosimilar approved by the FDA for treatment of patients with cancer in September 2017, specifically approved for treatment of adult patients with colorectal, lung, brain, kidney, and cervical cancers. Drugmakers argue that list prices do not reflect actual cost after discounts and rebates. "He is exhausted of the government getting bad deals on the drugs seniors need, and I couldn't agree more".

Several parts of the plan, Azar said, could directly impact the pharmaceutical industry.

She said companies best positioned to participate in the new proposal would be insurers that have their own PBMs, Part D plans and Medicare Advantage business, such as UnitedHealth Group, Humana, Anthem Inc and Cigna if the Trump administration approves its merger with Express Scripts.

One prong in the administration's attack on high drug prices is to stop anticompetitive practices by drugmakers.


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