INTERVIEW — HHS SECRETARY ALEX AZAR on Trump’s drug pricing initiative
- HHS Secretary Alex Azar: Trump drug-price plan is boldest ‘in history’
- (Forbes) — On Friday, the administration released a 44-page blueprint for executive action on drug pricing entitled “American Patients First.” The blueprint represents the most comprehensive, serious, and thorough effort by any presidential administration to address the problem of high prescription drug prices. That doesn’t mean it’s perfect. There are plenty of areas where the blueprint can improve. But it considers many good ideas for addressing the problem of high prices, including:
- Reforming the FDA’s internal procedures in order to reduce artificial barriers to generic competition.
- Promoting the use of biosimilars (i.e., generic biotechnology drugs) and reducing barriers to their take-up.
- Preventing branded drug manufacturers from gaming FDA risk management strategies and 180-day generic launch rules to forestall generic competition.
- Providing avenues for Medicare to bulk-purchase costly drugs so as to limit the pricing power of monopolies.
- Requiring drug rebates negotiated by PBMs to be passed directly on to the patients using those drugs, instead of being used to reduce premiums for all policyholders. This should incentivize more and wider use of rebates, because price-sensitive consumers will benefit from lower prices on the drugs they themselves use.
- Requiring drug companies to disclose list prices for their drugs in television ads, just as they do for side effects and other drug risks. This should make companies think twice about charging egregious prices, knowing that there will be a PR blowback