Trump unveils drug pricing plan

May 14, 2018

President Trump unveiled a long-awaited plan for lowering drug prices on Friday.

The two issues that were most opposed by the pharma industry — allowing Medicare to directly negotiate drug pricing and allowing Americans to import prescription drugs — were largely avoided.

A list of possible solutions that will be explored by Trump included:

• Allowing Medicare drug plans to pay different prices for the same drug, depending on the disease being treated
• Exploring “value-based purchasing” in federal programs, where a drugmaker may have to refund money if a treatment does not work as expected
• Making generic drugs free for some low-income older people on Medicare
• Pushing other countries to raise drug prices in order to lower prices in the U.S.
• Requiring drugmakers to mention the price of drugs in drug commercials 
• Ending contracts between pharmacies and pharmacy benefit managers that prohibit pharmacists from informing patients when a drug would be cheaper if they paid in cash, rather than using insurance
• Cracking down on patent extension tactics employed by branded pharma 

The administration also released a 39-page document  describing a variety of proposals it is either considering or studying as part of its lower drug costs efforts.

The speech was well-received by the Association for Accessible Medicines, who applauded  the President’s emphasis on the role competition plays in decreasing drug prices.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) had a more mixed reaction, mostly voicing concern surrounding proposed changes to Medicare Part D.

Read the NY Times coverage