Trump health secretary pushes back against Medicare drug negotiation

Trump health secretary pushes back against Medicare drug negotiation

Trump also lashed out at foreign governments that "extort unreasonably low prices" from manufacturers.

Updating trade policies between the USA and other countries: President Trump said, medicine that costs a few dollars in a foreign country costs hundreds of dollars in America for the same pill, with the same ingredients, in the same package, made in the same plant.

"It's going to be months for the kind of actions that we need to take here", Azar said. In reality, it is entirely in line with the financial interests of the drug companies and health insurers and will do virtually nothing to stop their profit-gouging. All the sequester cut to Medicare drug payments for cancer drugs has produced is less access to cancer treatment, higher costs for patients and Medicare, and increased drug prices.

The blueprint, which raised a series of questions about the drug-pricing chain and touted Trump's previous budget initiatives aimed at Medicare Part D reform, moved away from numerous specific proposals he touted while campaigning.

Major drugmakers Amgen, Gilead Sciences, Merck and Pfizer all enjoyed stock price spikes after the speech, as did the two largest indexes for pharmaceutical and biotech companies. His administration has made several moves, though experts have said they mainly tinker around the edges of the problem. Within those, some ideas include increasing generic and biosimilar competition and requiring Medicare Part D - Medicare's prescription drug plan - to share rebates with patients. "He is exhausted of the government getting bad deals on the drugs seniors need, and I couldn't agree more". The proposal, a 44-page plan titled, American Patients First, promises to make generic drugs and biosimilars more accessible. Drug companies, however, have lobbied hard to prevent government involvement, and Republicans have generally not supported such a proposal.

These measures are also opposed by Trump's Food and Drug Administration commissioner Scott Gottlieb, who has close ties to the drug industry, and his secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, a former top executive at the drug firm Eli Lilly.

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Even as he spoke, the Democratic National Committee continued to pan Mr. Trump's plan as feckless, saying he reneged on his push for direct government negotiation under Medicare. He noted that the agency will build on proposals in the president's budget, but said Trump "wants to go much, much further". However, his speech concentrated more on rhetoric criticizing the American drug system rather than giving any details about this so called plan.

Instead, a main initiative unveiled by Trump on May 11 was proposed to compel other industrial nations to pay more for innovative medicines, particularly Canada, Japan, and some European countries. Plan sponsors will also gain more power to negotiate with the manufacturers of the drugs.

And HHS will begin merging the part of the plan that covers doctor-administered drugs - known as Part B - with its prescription-drug benefit portion, or Part D, where private plans are able to negotiate down prices. The head of the drug cost reduction project, Daniel Best, is also an ex-Pfizer executive.

Allowing drug makers to raise prices in other countries would do nothing to bring down prices in the United States.

They negotiate rebates with drug manufacturers, and then they take a share of it. PBMs are alleged for keeping the drug prices higher, while not passing on the rebates to patients.

But Trump has since abandoned ideas to lower drug costs he supported during the campaign, including allowing the government's Medicare plan for older Americans to negotiate prices directly with drugmakers, and enabling US consumers to import lower-cost medicines from other countries. Long-term efforts will also focus on balancing what consumers pay for drugs developed in the United States versus what foreign consumers pay in their own countries.

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