4 thoughts from Trump's CMS pick on reducing federal drug spending

Seema Verma, President Donald Trump's nominee to head CMS, on Thursday highlighted the need to reassess the way drugmakers classify treatments as branded or generic under drug rebate programs to help lower federal spending on prescription medications, reports Reuters.

Here are four things to know.

1. Ms. Verma brought up Mylan's misclassification of EpiPens when discussing the topic during her Thursday confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee. In September, the government accused Mylan of improperly classifying EpiPens as a generic drug, thereby underpaying rebates to state Medicaid programs.

"I think what happened with ... the EpiPen issue is very disturbing," Ms. Verma said at the hearing. "The idea that perhaps Medicaid programs, which are struggling to pay for those programs, that they could have potentially received rebates is disturbing to me."

2. Ms. Verma said she would like to review the processes in place relating to classifications to rein in government spending on prescription drugs and ensure a similar situation doesn't occur again, according to the report.

3. When questioned by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Ms. Verma said she would produce records of communication between CMS and Mylan about the misclassification. Sen. Grassley has been a vocal critic of both Mylan — for overcharging states and taxpayers by "potentially hundreds of millions of dollars" — and CMS for not taking enough action to reprimand the drugmaker.

4. While Ms. Verma was vocal on the topic of drug classifications, she was more hesitant to share her thoughts on President Trump's proposal to let CMS negotiate drug prices.

"I don't think that's a simple yes or no answer," Ms. Verma said. "The goal is to make sure that we're getting affordable prices for our seniors."

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