Trump's plan to lower prescription drug prices: 7 takeaways

Alia Paavola - Print  | 

In his latest effort to lower prescription drug prices in the U.S., President Donald Trump proposed Oct. 25 that Medicare pay for certain prescription drugs based on the prices other economically similar countries pay, according to The New York Times.

Here are seven takeaways:

1. As part of a demonstration project authorized by the Affordable Care Act, CMS would establish an "international pricing index" and use it as a benchmark to decide how much Medicare would pay for drugs covered by Part B, which covers physician visits for seniors and drugs prescribed to them during their visits. The project would cover half the country.

2. HHS estimates the new pricing index would save Medicare about $17.2 billion over five years. Under the model, Medicare would pay physician fees more closely aligned with the prices other countries pay.

3. Medicare would be allowed to directly negotiate prices with drug companies that President Trump said have "rigged the system," according to The Washington Post.

4. The proposal, which would take effect late next year or early 2020, was immediately criticized by the drug industry's main lobby group, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

5. "The administration is imposing foreign price controls from countries with socialized health care systems that deny their citizens access and discourage innovation," said Stephen Ubl, president and CEO of PhRMA.

6. President Trump, on the other hand, called the proposal a "revolutionary change," adding that "Nobody's had the courage to do it, or they just didn’t want to do it."

7. The announcement on drug prices came hours after HHS released a report that said Medicare was paying 80 percent more than other advanced industrial countries.

Read the full story here.

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