Trump health secretary pushes back against Medicare drug negotiation

Donald Trump

Plan sponsors will also gain more power to negotiate with the manufacturers of the drugs.

The middlemen Trump was referring to are pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) or third party administrators that implement pharmacy program for insurance company or employer.

Azar said that efforts are also being made to increase the availability and awareness of biosimilars, according to Azar, because they are similar, yet cheaper than their brand-name counterparts.

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. ABP-215 (bevacizumab-awwb; Mvasi), a biosimilar for bevacizumab (Avastin) from manufacturers Amgen and Allergan, became the first biosimilar approved by the FDA for treatment of patients with cancer in September 2017, specifically approved for treatment of adult patients with colorectal, lung, brain, kidney, and cervical cancers. "When patients hear about a wonderful new drug, they should know whether it costs $100 or $50,000", Azar said. "Simply put, other nations are free-riding, or taking unfair advantage of the United States' progress in this area".

The blueprint also includes budget proposals to lower drug prices.

Mr. Azar said the type direct negotiation that takes place in European countries would not work - and could be unsafe.

"The idea of direct negotiation in Medicare has come up" during his meetings with the president, Azar said, but they determined the approach first announced by President Trump on Friday was the "smart, effective way".

Instead, the administration would seek to allow private sector payers to negotiate the price of those medicines, as they do in Medicare Part D, which covers drugs that patients pick up at the pharmacy.

Trump reversed one of his campaign promises which vowed to allow USA citizens to purchase cheaper drugs from overseas.

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The FDA has adopted these policies "to reduce gaming of statutory and regulatory requirements to help ensure that drug companies don't use anticompetitive strategies to delay development and approval of important generic drugs".

The administration may also revise how it pays for drugs administered in doctor's offices, clinics or hospitals through Medicare's Part B program. Additionally, site neutrality rules can eliminate differences in inpatient and outpatient Medicare payment policies.

"We are going to take on the tangled web of special interests ... the drug lobby is making an absolute fortune at the expense of American patients", Trump said.

"Keeping health care affordable for cancer patients and other Americans requires a comprehensive examination of all cost drivers", Hansen said.

Trump campaigned on lowering prescription drug prices ahead of the 2016 presidential election, even accusing drugmakers of "getting away with murder". However, COA criticized the administration for leaving a 2% sequester cut to Medicare reimbursement for cancer drugs in 2013.

On Friday, Trump's senior health officials outlined more modest policy proposals to introduce more competition among drugmakers and pass on savings to consumers.

"US has highest healthcare costs in the world and U.S. needs to study German, UK & Scandinavian (relatively lower cost) healthcare models to drive down Healthcare in United States of America and not blame it as a cost of cross subsidising other developing countries healthcare costs", said Rajiv Nath, Forum Coordinator of AiMeD - the trade body of Indian medical devices companies".

The White House's new drug pricing blueprint will clearly have ramifications overseas.

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