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Home / US / The White House kills the key drug pricing rules to eliminate hidden discounts

The White House kills the key drug pricing rules to eliminate hidden discounts




Minister of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and President Donald Trump talk about kidney health. (Alex Brandon / AP)

The Trump administration pulled out one of its key drug-lowering proposals Prices that would have eliminated discounts on Medicare middlemen who identified President Trump's top health official as one of the most significant changes to curb drug costs Consumers had touted.

The rule is that the second big drug price hike this week is breaking down. The government's efforts to reduce prescription costs have become central to the 2020 presidential campaign.

The secretary for health and human services Alex Azar and the White House's leading policy advisers were disagreeing on the merits of the rule, which was a cause of tensions between the two countries two camps. Azar proposed the ruling in January to lower drug prices and suggested implementing the change next year. However, the White House policy advisers balked at the estimated price of nearly $ 180 billion in a decade and wondered if this would be effective.

White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement on Thursday. "The Trump administration will be encouraged to continue reducing bipartisan legislation on reducing the unprecedented drug costs imposed on the American people, and President Trump will consider using all means to ensure that the cost of prescription drugs continues to decline . "

also showed that the rule would increase premiums in Medicare. Azar told reporters on Thursday that Trump did not want to risk increasing the cost of senior citizens and that the president had decided to drop them.

"Ultimately, we support the concept of getting rid of discounts … We will not put seniors at risk for their premiums to rise," Azar said. "We will continue to see that the days of discounts are over. We have fundamentally changed the debate on discounts. "

The drug manufacturers had endorsed the rule, but it was firmly rejected by the pharmacy performance managers – the middlemen who administer the employer and health insurance benefits and negotiate discounts with the manufacturers.

"Only drug manufacturers can set drug prices. We believe that the key to reducing drug costs is to adopt guidelines that encourage more competition, "said J.C. Scott, President and CEO of the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, in a statement. The group represents managers of pharmacy services.

Earlier this week, a federal judge blocked a ruling requiring pharmaceutical companies to raise list prices for their medicines on television advertising on the grounds that HHS exceeded its authority to implement the bill, and required Congress approval.

Trump has increased the pressure on his advisers to make profits in pricing drugs that he can promote on the campaign. The dispute within the government over how best to fulfill the president's wishes has jeopardized some of these efforts.

Azar mentioned in his meeting with reporters that he is working with the White House on other ideas for lowering drug prices, including finding ways to import cheaper drugs from other countries.

Trump has accepted a proposal from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) to import cheaper drugs from Canada, for example. Azar had initially expressed concern that such an approach could bring potentially unsafe counterfeit drugs into the country, but told reporters on Thursday that there were opportunities to allow imports while ensuring security.

In order to be imported, we need to ensure the security of US drug supplies and bring savings to consumers, "he said. "Larger players in the wholesale distribution. … I think it could open the door. "

HHS has also proposed a White House-reviewed rule that would base the price of some medicines in Medicare on the average price paid by other countries at far cheaper drug costs.


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