President Donald Trump is making a late push in hopes to lower the costs of prescription drugs for many Americans. He presented some challenges for the pharmaceutical industry, but it remains to be seen if the industry will push back and then take this into some sort of legal situation.
Any changes done this late by President Trump could also face a new challenge if or when Joe Biden is sworn into office, because he could go in another direction if he desired.
Trump made a statement when announcing his new policy, saying that “drug companies don’t like me too much. But we had to do it… I just hope they keep it. I hope they have the courage to keep it” and he mentioned how companies would likely push back against his policies.
AP reports that Trump’s two big rules are:
— Tie what Medicare pays for medications administered in a doctor’s office to the lowest price paid among a group of other economically advanced countries. That’s called the “most favored nations” approach. It is adamantly opposed by critics aligned with the pharmaceutical industry who liken it to socialism. The administration estimates it could save $28 billion over seven years for Medicare recipients through lower copays. It would take effect Jan. 1.
— Require drugmakers, for brand-name pharmacy medications, to give Medicare enrollees rebates that now go to insurers and middlemen called pharmacy benefit managers. Insurers that deliver Medicare’s “Part D” prescription benefit say that would raise premiums. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates it would increase taxpayer costs by $177 billion over 10 years. The Trump administration disputes that and says its rule could potentially result in 30% savings for patients. It would take effect Jan. 1, 2022.
However, Trump is already receiving backlash from the pharmaceutical industry. “The administration is willing to upend the entire system with a reckless attack on the companies working around the clock to end this pandemic,” said the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.