Tom Price open to CMS negotiating drug prices

Tom Price, MD, President Trump's pick to head HHS, may have opened the door to a new drug pricing system during his hearing with the Senate finance committee this week, reports Bloomberg.

When Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., asked Dr. Price if he'd work with Democrats to let Medicare negotiate drug prices, Dr. Price said he was open to exploring a new method for drug pricing that is more effective than the current system in which pharmacy benefit managers do all the negotiating.

President Trump advocated for the price negotiation tactic during his Jan. 11 press conference when he said, "We're the largest buyer of drugs in the world, and yet we don't bid properly … We're going to start bidding and were going to save billions of dollars over a period of time."

Under the law that created the Medicare Part D drug benefit in the early 2000s, the government is forbidden to directly negotiate drug prices. Instead, PBMs negotiate drug prices on behalf of the private payers that administer Medicare Part D, according to the report.

CMS published a report on Jan. 19 detailing the flaws in this system. If this attention from President Trump, Dr. Price and CMS result in a more active federal role in price negotiations, it would be "bad news" for PBMs and drug companies, reports Bloomberg.


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