The actions are designed to save seniors ‘billions of dollars’ per year, Trump said.
The Trump administration on Friday announced three measures designed to cut prescription drug prices – with a particular focus on seniors – pursuant to executive orders signed earlier this year.
“Together, these reforms will save Americans patients many, many billions of dollars every single year,” Trump said during a press conference at the White House.
The first would end rebates paid to the so-called middlemen in Medicare, who are supposed to pass them on to commercial plans – though there is doubt over whether that happens. Instead, the discounts are expected to be offered to consumers directly at the pharmacy counter.
There has been a concern that this policy could result in higher Part D premiums for beneficiaries.
The second action announced on Friday aims to make U.S. drug prices more competitive by linking prices paid for prescriptions under Medicare to prices charged for the same drugs in other countries.
Trump said that Medicare will look at prices paid by other developed nations and instead of paying “the highest price on the list,” the program “will pay the lowest price.”
Additionally, the administration said it would end the Unapproved Drug Initiative, which was designed 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.
One study found that prices were increased by as much as 1,644% after approval.
Among them were delivering rebates from drug companies directly to consumers for Epipens and insulin, allowing wholesalers to legally import prescription drugs from Canada and other countries and delivering discounts straight to patients – bypassing the pharmacy benefit managers.