Trump reveals drug pricing plan

President Donald Trump speaks during a roundtable discussion on tax reform at the Cleveland Public Auditorium in Cleveland Ohio U.S. May

President Donald Trump promised to "derail the gravy train" in the health care system Friday afternoon, at a Rose Garden speech where he unveiled his much-anticipated strategy to lower drug prices.

"The idea that asking Germany to charge their citizens more for drugs will help Americans is a cop-out and the height of absurdity that nobody believes", he said.

The president also blasted foreign governments, alleging they force drug companies to sell at low prices in their countries, driving up costs for American consumers. The plan mostly lists dozens of "potential" steps the administration may take, along with many others that were included in the president's budget proposal and will require congressional action. Health Secretary Alex Azar said the Food and Drug Administration would immediately examine requiring that information in TV ads. To accompany the speech, the White House released a 44-page plan detailing more than 50 ways the administration plans to accomplish its goals.

Second, is to unrig the system to ensure Americans pay the lowest possible price at the pharmacy.

Officials representing the major industries suggested privately they were relieved to avoid harder blows from the plan, after a monthslong effort to engage with administration officials.

"Consumers are ultimately going to be the judge of this announcement", said Dan Mendelson, a health care consultant.

Many researchers say the biggest reason behind the rising spending is high prices for prescription drugs. That's something candidate Trump pledged to do. Current U.S. law prohibits Medicare officials from interfering in the negotiations between drugmakers and the insurance companies that administer Medicare's prescription drug plans.

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Some of the administration's longer-term priorities include restricting use of rebates, creating incentives for drugmakers to lower list prices, and investigating tools to address foreign government practices that it said could be harming innovation and driving up USA prices.

"In some cases, a medicine that costs a few dollars in a foreign country costs hundreds in America for the same pill, with the same ingredients, in the same package, made in the same plant".

And the Pharmaceutical Industry Doesn't Seem Too Worried: Just check out how pharma stocks - and those of pharmacy benefit managers like Express Scripts - shot higher despite Trump's harsh rhetoric.

The US President directed his top trade negotiator, Bob Lighthizer, to strongly take up with all countries the fixing of prices of American pharmaceuticals and medical devices, extending his 'America First' policy to put "American Patients First" and vowing to "bring soaring drug prices down to earth".

Experts who study drug pricing are encouraged that the discussion has moved on from outrage to more sophisticated proposals. Peter Bach, a physician and policy researcher at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, said the ideas amounted to a serious attempt to address high prices, despite the absence of policies like having an independent evaluative body.

But others warn there is no guarantee that unraveling the current pricing-setting bureaucracy will lead to lower prices, because it all starts with drugmakers' initial prices. The "American Patients First" document released by the Trump administration alleged that every time one country demands a lower price, it ends up lowering the reference price used by other countries, creating a ripple effect and a deficit that eventually becomes a burden on the American taxpayer. According to statistics of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the United States has the highest annual health expenditures of any industrialized country, at almost $10,000 per capita, with drugs prices playing a major role.

US patients spent almost $329 billion on prescription drugs in 2016, according to the National Health Expenditures Survey.

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