Biotech Companies Climb On Seemingly Toothless Drug-Pricing Reform

Donald Trump

We are delivering on President Trump's promise to do smart bidding and tough negotiation in Medicare: "We are going to bring negotiation to where it doesn't exist, in Part B, and making negotiation more effective than it is today, in Part D".

"I've got a pen and I've got a phone - and I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball forward", Mr. Obama said. He said that "the middle man" has become rich on the backs of patients. Trump said in the Rose Garden.

The American public, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said, deserves to know which companies are "gouging consumers".

Once the speech concluded, stocks rallied. Further, Azar said he and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are developing incentives to lower list prices.

Azar noted that numerous Blueprint proposals can be accomplished through executive action, but that change may take some time if new rulemaking is required.

While Trump may have complained repeatedly about the extremely high price of drugs during his Presidential campaign, calling the big pharma companies out of control and claiming that they were getting away with murder, he also filled up his administration with ex-industry executives as well as consultants.

"We're also increasing competition and reducing regulatory burdens, so drugs can be gotten to the market quicker and cheaper", President Donald Trump said Friday.

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The Hill's Peter Sullivan noted on Twitter that CVS Health didn't express negativity either: "Nothing critical in PBM CVS Health's statement: "Policy solutions that lower drug prices for consumers and reduce out-of-pocket costs are aligned with CVS Health's business model and would not be expected to have a negative impact on profitability". Under the "American Patients First" blueprint, the administration will challenge "global freeloading" through actions that reduce price disparities and spread the burden for incentivizing new drug development between the USA and other developed nations.

Other seniors advocates called the blueprint a good first step, though some had hoped the president would empower the government to play a larger role in price setting. Major drugmakers Amgen, Gilead Sciences, Merck and Pfizer all enjoyed stock price spikes after the speech, as did the two largest indexes for pharmaceutical and biotech companies.

Statements made by the President were that "Everyone involved in the broken system - the drugmakers, insurance companies, distributions, pharmacy-benefit managers and many others - contribute to the problem", also adding that "Government has also been part of the problem because previous leaders turned a blind eye to this incredible abuse".

It's also important to consider what the blueprint doesn't include-such as a plan to allow Medicare to directly negotiate drug prices and establish a formulary, or permitting lower-priced drug imports from other countries. Given the latest fluctuations on the market, though, Trump and Azar have a considerable distance to go.

In remarks to reporters following the speech, Azar said Trump wants Medicare to negotiate more effectively, "rather than trite, gimmicky, political proposals".

"Think about all the time everybody spends watching drug company ads, and how much information companies are required to put in them", Azar said. "Against, this is - it took decades to erect this very complex, interwoven system". The administration seeks "fundamental structural change" to a system of "entrenched market players", he commented in a press briefing.

Trump did not talk about price negotiations through the Medicare program, despite the fact that it had been one of his selling points when he was campaigning for the Presidency.

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