White House releases 2 new drug-pricing rules

President Donald Trump announced two new drug-pricing rules Nov. 20, one that would link Medicare Part B drug prices to those paid in other countries and one to eliminate rebates drugmakers pay to pharmacy benefit managers, The Hill reported. 

The first rule, known as the "most favored nation" payment model, lowers the price of 50 Medicare Part B drugs to the prices paid by other wealthy countries. The rule only applies to Medicare beneficiaries, not for people with private insurance. 

Michelle McMurry-Heath, CEO of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, a drug industry trade group, told The Hill the rule would "impose arbitrary foreign price controls on the very researchers trying to develop vaccines and treatments to end this public health crisis." 

The drug industry is likely to file lawsuits to block the rule, according to The Hill. Many Republicans also oppose the rule, saying it equates to price controls.

CMS said the rule will save taxpayers and beneficiaries more than $85 billion over seven years. The payment model is to start in January. 

The second rule eliminates rebates drugmakers pay to pharmacy benefit managers, an attempt to simplify the drug-pricing system and pass discounts  to consumers, The Hill reported. Drugmakers support this rule, but it is opposed by pharmacy benefit managers. 

Some experts have argued the rebate rule would increase premiums and government spending, though HHS Secretary Alex Azar denied those claims, according to The Hill

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