Trump Announces Groundbreaking Rules to Lower Prescription Drug Prices

Elias Hubbard
November 21, 2020

(CNN)President Donald Trump unveiled two controversial rules on Friday aimed at reducing drug prices - a last-ditch effort to fulfill a key 2016 promise that immediately sparked legal threats from the pharmaceutical industry and condemnation from Democrats.

"It defies logic that the administration is blindly proceeding with a "most favored nation" policy that gives foreign governments the upper hand in deciding the value of medicines in the United States", he said.

Two new regulations meant to reduce the price of prescription drugs are expected to be unveiled by the Trump administration on Friday and go into immediate effect, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The other will effectively ban drug makers from providing rebates to pharmacy benefit managers and insurers - a radical change in the way many drugs are priced and paid for in Medicare and Medicaid. The Trump administration disputes that and says its rule could potentially result in 30% savings for patients.

The industry is considering "all options to stop this reckless attack on the companies working around the clock to beat COVID-19", the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America said in a statement.

The president acknowledged that drug companies fiercely opposed his "most favored nation" move, noting ads they have run against it. Ambitious in scope, the legislation from Sens.

Addressing the prospect of legal battles, Azar said "we feel that both regulations are extremely strong and any industry challenging them is declaring themselves at odds with American patients and President Trump's commitment to lowering out-of-pocket costs".

It would apply to 50 medications that account for the highest spending under Medicare's "Part B" benefit for outpatient care.

"If the president were serious, he should have worked with Congress to enact our bipartisan legislation to empower the federal government to negotiate lower drug prices for all Americans", Pallone and Neal said.

The Biotechnology Innovation Organization, which represents biotech companies, said a Trump rule indexing USA prices to foreign drug prices was politically motivated because a coronavirus vaccine was not announced before the November 3 election as the president had promised it would be.

The proposal is limited, though, in that it will only lower drug prices for people on Medicare, not people who get their insurance through their jobs, for example. Also, Medicare drug plans that cap insulin costs at $35 a month are available during open enrollment, now underway.

Additionally, the administration said it would end the Unapproved Drug Initiative, which was created to prevent the use of unapproved drugs, but instead has allowed drugmakers to exploit older drugs that have received renewed approval and exclusivity by hiking prices.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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