The Trump administration drew one of its key proposals to lower drug which would have eliminated rebates to middlemen in Medicare, which President Trump's top health official had touched on as one of the most significant changes to prescription medication costs for consumers
The rule is the second major drug pricing effort to collapse this week,
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and top White House policy advisers had disagreed over the merits of the rule, which has been a source of tension between the government's efforts to reduce its prescription costs. two camps. Azar proposed the rule in January as the central plan of the administration's effort to lower drug prices and had proposed implementing the change next year. But the policy advisors at the White House bristled at the nearly $ 180 billion estimated cost over a decade and questioned whether it would be effective
"Based on careful analysis and careful consideration, the President has decided to withdraw the rebate rule, "White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement on Thursday. "The Trump administration is encouraged by continuing bipartisan conversations on legislation to reduce the outrageous drug costs imposed on American people, and President Trump will consider using any and all tools to ensure that prescription drug costs will continue to decline."
Estimates had also showed that the policy would raise premiums in Medicare. Azar told reporters on Thursday that Trump did not want to risk raising seniors' costs, and that the president made the decision to drop it
"At the end of the day, while we support the concept of getting rid of rebates … we are not going to put seniors at risk of their premiums going up, "Azar said. "We're going to continue to see the days of rebates over. We have totally changed the debate on rebates. "
Drugmakers have favored the rule, but it was strongly opposed by the pharmacy benefits managers – the intermediaries who administer drug benefits for employers and health plans and negotiate rebates with manufacturers. drug manufacturers have the power to set drug prices. We believe that the key to lowering drug costs is to enact policies that encourage greater competition, "Pharmaceutical Care Management Association President and CEO J.C. Scott said in a statement.
Earlier this week, a federal judge blocked a rule that would require drugmakers to include the list prices of their medicines in television ads, arguing that HHS had overstepped its authority to implement the rule and needed
Trump has stepped up pressure on his advisers to deliver wins on drug pricing that he can tout on the campaign trail.
Azar mentioned in his meeting with reporters that he is working with the White House on other ideas to lower drug prices, including finding ways to
Trump has embraced a proposal by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), for example, is importing lower-priced drugs from Canada. Azar had originally expressed concerns that such an approach would allow potentially unsafe counterfeit drugs in the country, but he told reporters Thursday that he believed there were ways to allow imports while ensuring security
"My thinking has always been if we are going to have import, we have to ensure the safety of drug supply in the US and deliver savings for consumers, "he said. "Increased major players in wholesale distribution. "I think it could open the door."
The HHS has also proposed a rule under the White House, which would base the price of some drugs on Medicare on the average cost paid by other countries with far cheaper drug costs.