Breaking: Trump Announces New Rx Program

President Trump announced earlier today a new pharmacy cost reduction program, “American Patients First”.  The program aims to provide new tools to Medicare to negotiate lower prices, stop limiting pharmacists from helping patients save money and speed up approval of over-the-counter medicines so that fewer will require prescriptions.

The plan has 4 components:

  • Increasing competition.
  • Easing negotiation.
  • Creating incentives to lower prices.
  • Lowering out-of-pocket spending on drugs.

“American Patients First” calls for reforms in Medicare Part D to allow plan sponsors to negotiate lower prices for high-cost drugs, including negotiation tools that may be available to private payers. The administration also plans to address incentives in Part D to push drug companies to lower prices.The plan includes a five-part plan to restructure the Part D program to reduce drug costs. The budget includes proposals to cap spending in Medicare Part B and move Part B coverage into Part D to facilitate better negotiation.

The Food and Drug Administration will begin acting quickly to bring more generics and biosimilars to the market to address competition issues, for example.

Another area of particular focus is using a US large buying group much as other countries have been doing traditionally.  The U.S. pays for 70% of the profits of branded drugs among 35 leading countries because many have government-run health systems that pay one price for drugs, senior administration officials said.  According to Trump the U.S. is essentially subsidizing the R&D costs for other countries.

Last Sundays 60 Minutes segement on how the Town of Rockford, Illinois can NOT meet its budgetery obligations due to crushing PBM influenced pricing.  Example:  In 2001 an infant drug cost  $40/vile and now

$40,000/vile.

The Dept of Health and Human Services  reiterated the agency’s focus on price transparency and said that was another crucial element of the drug pricing plan. The FDA, for example, is going to immediately begin

to examine ways to push drug companies to disclose prices in their advertising.Long awaited and a welcomed consumer  policy.