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The White House has killed key drug pricing rules to eliminate hidden rebates




Secretary of Health and Human Affairs Alex Azar and President Donald Trump speak about the health of the kidneys. (Alex Brandon / AP)

Trump administration launched one of its key measures are to lower the drug prices by eliminating industry rebates in Medicare – a policy that the top health officer is thought to be one of the most important changes to eliminate drug costs for buyers.

The rule is the second major drug-pricing effort to recover this week, efforts to reduce prescriptions cost a key 2020 issue of the campaign presidential.

Secretary of Health and Human Health Secretary Alex Azar and the leading White House policy advisers disagree with the rules merits, which have become a source of tension between the two camps. Azar recommended the rule in January as a central plank of administration's effort to lower drug prices, and suggested implementing the next year's change. But White House policy advisors have changed over $ 180 billion estimated price tag over a decade and asked if it would be effective.

"Based on careful assessment and careful consideration, the President has decided to withdraw the rebate policy," White House spokeswoman Judd Deere said in a statement on Thursday. "Trump administration is being encouraged by the ongoing talks of two parties about the law to reduce the excessive drug cost consequences imposed on Americans, and President Trump will consider using any and all of the tools to ensure that the prescription drug costs will continue to decline. "

it also shows that the policy will increase Medicare premiums. Azar told reporters on Thursday that Trump did not want to risk raising the costs of seniors, and that the president made the decision to drop it.

"At the end of the day, as we support the concept of getting discounts … we do not put older people at risk of their premiums to climb," Azar says. "We will continue to see the days of the rebates. We have completely replaced the debate on rebates."

Drugmaker has granted the rule but is strongly opposed by pharmacy benefit managers – middlemen who administer the drug benefits for employers and health plans and negotiate rebates with manufacturers.

"Only drug manufacturers have the power to set drug prices. We believe the key to lowering drug costs is to enforce policies that encourage higher competition," said President and CEO of the Association of Pharmaceutical Care Management JC Scott in a statement. The group represents managers of pharmacy benefits.

Earlier this week, a federal judge blocked a rule requiring drugmakers to include the prices of their drugs list on television ads, assuming HHS exceeded the authority its implementation of the policy and approval requirements from Congress to do so.

Trump began to pressure his counselors to deliver drug-prone wins that he could tout on the campaign trail. But the battle within the administration of how best to achieve presidential prejudice threatens some of those efforts.

Azar mentioned at his meeting with reporters that he worked at the White House with other ideas to lower drug prices, including finding ways to import lower cost medicines from other country.

Trump accepted the proposal of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), for example, to import lower prices for drugs from Canada. Azar said worries that one way could allow potentially unsafe drugs in counterfeit countries, but he told reporters Thursday that he thought there were ways to allow imports while also ensuring safety.

"My thinking is always that when we are going to have an import, we need to ensure the safety of the drug supply in the US and deliver savings for consumers," he said. "Increased major players in wholesale distribution. … I think it can open the door."

HHS also proposed a rule, under review at the White House, based on the price of some Medicare medicines are the average price paid by other countries with lower cost medicines.


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