Trump's Drug-Pricing Ideas Would Cost Taxpayers a Bundle

Meanwhile, pharmaceutical companies would stand to make a lot more money.
Originally published on 09/29/2020 in Bloomberg Opinion

Early in President Trump's term, he said pharmaceutical companies' prices were so high they were 'getting away with murder.'

However, drug prices rose anyway. The Associated Press reported that in 2018, for every one drug price that fell, 96 other drug prices went up. President Trump's administration proposed a wave of new federal policies in a last-ditch effort to deliver on his campaign promises. Dr. Bach lays out the proposals and describes how the strategies in these proposals would only enrich the pharmaceutical industry, and raise costs for taxpayers. 

  1. In June, the Trump administration proposed a loophole that would let drug companies give bigger discounts to their preferred customers than Medicaid. By revoking price protections, it would raise costs for the vital program.  
  1. When it came time to negotiate the price of Remdesivir in June, HHS committed US hospitals to pay about $3200 per treatment – 33% more than the price the company announced it would charge other developed countries. 
  1. The president signed an executive order meant to block insurance companies from collecting rebates from drug companies after beneficiaries fill their prescriptions. In effect, insurance premiums for everyone would increase, regardless of whether they buy Part D insurance or get insurance through their employer or an insurance-exchange plan. 
  1. Trump announced he will let people import lower-priced drugs from Canada, however he has not outlined a formal plan. 
  1. The president announced that Medicare would pay no more for drugs than other high income countries do. In reality, drug companies can still charge doctors and hospitals high prices, but the government and taxpayers will have to compensate.  
  1. Trump promised to send Medicare beneficiaries $200 cards to help pay for their medicines. However, giving them money to help defray the cost would only encourage drug makers to raise their prices more.  

Read the full piece here.


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