Trump Says Drug Ads Should Reveal Costs

Trump unveils prescription drugs plan

Trump unveils prescription drugs plan

"When foreign governments extort unreasonably low prices from USA drug makers, Americans have to pay more to subsidize the enormous cost of research and development", Trump said.

Instead, he offered mostly timid and familiar ideas.

Trump neglected, to begin, his campaign promise to let Medicare use its vast purchasing power to negotiate prices. Many Republicans in Congress have also opposed leveraging Medicare's buying power against drugmakers. Democratic Rep. Lloyd Doggett of Texas dismissed Trump's plan as "a sugar-coated nothing pill".

The administration will pursue a raft of old and new measures meant to improve competition and transparency in the notoriously complex drug pricing system.

Perhaps the only notable deviation from ideas already hinted at in prior speeches by officials was a call for the FDA to evaluate whether direct-to-consumer drug advertising should include list prices. "We will have tougher negotiation, more competition and much lower prices", he said.

Drugmakers generally can charge as much as the market will bear because the US government doesn't regulate medicine prices, unlike most other developed countries.

Azar also said the FDA would "immediately" look into requiring drugmakers to disclose prices in their ads, although the details are unclear.

Among the initiatives is a regulatory push to ditch so-called "pharmacy gag clauses", terms in some contracts between pharmacies and insurers which prohibit pharmacists from tipping off customers when they're overpaying through health plans.

Rick Pollack, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association: "The AHA appreciates numerous actions that the Administration has proposed, such as incentives to speed up the arrival of generic drugs into the market and reducing out-of-pocket costs for patients".

Trump argued that other countries take advantage of the USA pharmaceutical industry and its investments in research and development, claiming that bringing downs costs at home would require increasing prices in foreign countries. Chuck Schumer of NY, the Democratic leader, said after the speech. "Trump chose the incremental over the disruptive".

Other parts of the plan were previously released in the president's budget proposal and would require action by Congress. The administration officials did not specify particular policies, but in his budget, Trump proposed changes to Medicare benefits. "We are very much eliminating middlemen", Trump said.

As a candidate, Trump railed against the pharmaceutical industry, accusing companies of "getting away with murder". But as president he has shied away from major reforms and staffed his administration with appointees who have deep ties to the industry. They include Health Secretary Alex Azar, a former top executive at Eli Lilly and Co., who joined Trump for Friday's announcement.

Trump called out those companies in his speech: "Our plan will end the dishonest double-dealing that allows the middleman to pocket rebates and discounts that should be passed onto consumers and patients", Trump said. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb recently caused a stir when he suggested that the federal government could re-examine whether drug manufacturers' rebates on those list prices are kickbacks. He gave no timeframe for more concrete steps. "It took decades to erect this very complex, interwoven system". I need them to invent drugs, or I'm going to die sooner than I want to.

Public outrage over drug costs has been growing for years, because Americans are being squeezed in a number of ways: New medicines for cancer and other life-threatening diseases often launch with prices exceeding $100,000 per year. And older drugs for common ailments like diabetes and asthma routinely see price hikes around 10 percent annually. "If they don't address the cost that patients see at the pharmacy counter it's not going to be seen as responsive".

Prescription drug spending increased just 1.3 percent to $328 billion in 2016, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a dramatic slowdown from past years when prices rose with the introduction of new specialty medications. Prescription-drug spending in the USA grew 1.3 percent in 2016, to $328.6 billion, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The measures aim to increase competition, create incentives for drugmakers to lower initial prices and stop foreign governments from "freeloading" off USA pharmaceutical research. "No similar negotiating happens in the U.S".

"It's hard to know why Germany or France or Australia would agree to something like that", said Professor Jack Hoadley of Georgetown University's Health Policy Institute.

According to figures from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, US consumers spent $1,162 per person on pharmaceuticals in 2015, compared to $756 in Canada and $497 in the United Kingdom, where the government has established measures to control drug prices.

One thing Trump did not propose was allowing Medicare, the government health care program for the elderly, to directly negotiate lower drug prices for its beneficiaries.

Trump also blasted the pharmaceutical and insurance industries for spending hundreds of millions of dollars on lobbying to "protect the status quo".

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