Trump pledges 'total victory' in war on drug prices

Drug Importation 'Just a Gimmick,' Says HHS Secretary

Azar, striking an aggressive tone, suggests Trump will call out drug companies behind major price hikes

President Donald Trump, in a long-anticipated speech May 11, proclaimed to target reducing drug prices in America. The effort comes as a growing number of Americans struggle with the cost of their medications, and cite healthcare concerns as a top priority for Washington ahead of congressional elections in November.

Updating trade policies between the United States 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. According to this rule, pharmacists can not tell their customers if there are cheaper alternatives to the drugs they are buying without using their health plan. Although it's unclear how the Trump administration will achieve this goal, one idea is to publish a comparison of drug prices in the USA and other Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries to expose the differences.

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. "Although the FDA doesn't have a direct role in drug pricing, by ensuring that regulatory requirements are efficient, predictable and science-based; we can help reduce the time, uncertainty and cost of generic and biosimilar product development", said Gottlieb.

Critics said the policies pointed to the influence the pharmaceutical industry wields with the administration.

Shares of major drugmakers, insurers and PBMs rose after the speech.

The S&P 500 healthcare index rose 1 percent on Monday, outpacing a 0.5 percent increase for the broader S&P 500.

"The plan was a lot less aggressive than investors expected", wrote Alex Arfaei, analyst at BMO Capital Markets.

Mr. Trump also wants to repeal Obamacare's cap on penalties drug companies must pay when they raise prices faster than inflation, though it will require legislation from Congress.

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"This is nothing short of the complete and fundamental restructuring of over $400 billion of the USA economy", he said.

The Department of Health & Human Services will take "a range of immediate actions" to implement the blueprint, according to a fact sheet provided by the White House on Thursday.

What he proposed instead was to let Medicare Part D health plans - that cover prescription drugs for older Americans - get significantly more power to hold negotiations with pharma companies.

Medicare is the national health insurance plan run by the federal government for Americans over the age of 65 and the disabled. However, that plan is still up in the air, like most of the other proposals, the Food and Drug Administration would need to evaluate the change in pharma advertising. Drugmakers argue that list prices do not reflect actual cost after discounts and rebates. Further, Azar said he and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are developing incentives to lower list prices.

"There's not a big proposal here that is going to make a huge difference".

Azar later told reporters that the administration would "seek input" on doing away with drug rebates in the Medicare system to encourage more direct discounts. "He is exhausted of the government getting bad deals on the drugs seniors need, and I couldn't agree more", Azar said, in a speech before the briefing.

But several health policy specialists said that although the 44-page blueprint contains serious ideas that could threaten different industries within the pharmaceutical supply chain, it leaves open many key details.

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