BY JESSIE HELLMANN
The administration will unveil a slate of proposals soon to address high prescription drug costs in the U.S., President Trump announced Monday.
“You’ll be seeing drug prices falling very substantially in the not-so-distant future, and it’s going to be beautiful,” President Trump said during a press conference on opioids in New Hampshire.
“If you compare our drug prices to other countries in the world, in some cases it’s many times higher for the same exact pill, or whatever it is, in the exact same package made in the exact same plant, and we’re going to change that.”
Trump blamed high costs on drug lobbies and the complex distribution system.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the administration would roll out the proposals in about a month.
“We’re going to be rolling out … in about a month, a whole slate of other proposals around how we decrease the price of drugs, and how we bring discounts that right now the middle men are getting — how those will go to our patients, to individuals.”
While it’s not clear what the proposals would specifically involve, Azar praised UnitedHealthcare’s recent decision to pass the discounts it gets from drug companies for prescriptions directly to consumers at the pharmacy.
Critics have argued that these discounts often go to pharmacy benefit mangers, middlemen who manage pharmacy benefits for insurance companies and employers.
The president’s budget proposal, released last month, called for passing on these discounts and rebates to seniors who buy drugs through Medicare Part D.
Azar, a former pharmaceutical executive, has said bringing down drug prices is one of his biggest priorities.
Trump noted Azar’s previous job: “Who knows better than the guy running the drug company?”