President Trump unveils American Patients First Initiative

May 14, 2018

On May 11, President Trump spoke on the administration’s “American Patients First” plan for lower prescription drugs costs for Americans.  The administration’s plan seeks to address “excessively high drug prices, foreign freeloading, and a system rigged to reward list price increases”. President Trump pointed to specific issues within the current system that will be addressed with the goal of lower drug costs for Americans, including:
  • Policies and rules used by drug companies to thwart innovation and encourage higher costs, including patents and Medicare negotiating
  • Foreign use of U.S. drugs at a lower cost than is paid by Americans
  • Lack of transparency in the industry regarding pricing
The administration indicated that many of these issues will be addressed through a series of rule changes mostly in relation to Medicare. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will make changes to Medicare Parts B and D which allow for expanded negotiation for lower prices and allow participants additional information to make informed choices regards drugs.  HHS will also prohibit Medicare Part D contracts from including a gag rule that blocks pharmacists from informing patients of costs savings if the individual pays out of pocket instead of utilizing their insurance. HHS will also “take steps” to address patent and regulatory rules that protect drug company monopolies and accelerate access to new prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

The plan also “seeks feedback” on additional policies, including additional Medicare policies that reduce incentives for higher pricing, having U.S. Trade Representatives address unfair policies in trade agreements that allow for trade partners to exploit low drug prices without contributing to the costs of drug innovation.

President Trump said that the administration is “launching the most sweeping action in history to lower the price of prescription drugs for the American people” and that the above strategies will “ensure all Americans have access to the quality, affordable medication they need and they deserve.”
 
For more information on "American Patients First", visit the HHS website to access the entire blueprint.