President Trump has announced his long-awaited plan to make drug prices more affordable. Speaking from the White House Rose Garden, the President assailed drug companies as long profiting, unfairly he says, off of the American people.
“The drug lobby is making an absolute fortune at the expense of American consumers. We are putting American patients first,” he said.
Among some of the policies the President proposed is requiring drug companies to disclose their pricing in television ads and tougher measure preventing drug companies from delaying less expensive, generic versions of their drugs from coming to market.
Much of the White House’s proposals do not target drug makers directly, focusing instead on middlemen in the U.S. drug industry known as pharmacy benefit managers. PBM’s have largely been criticized for the lack of transparency in their pricing schemes and process.
“The middlemen became very, very rich,” the President said. “They’re rich. They won’t be so rich anymore.”
Stocks of the major drug companies were largely up after the announcment, an indication that the President’s plan, at least from investors’ point of view, is not seen as a major threat to industry profits.
That sentiment of “mixed reviews” was echoed in statement by David Mitchell, a patient with incurable cancer and founder of drug price advocacy group Patients For Affordable Drugs.
“Today’s announcement contains some good, some bad, and some missing components to lower drug prices,” Mitchell told ITN. “We hope to work with the Administration to strengthen the policies that work, add those that are missing, and remove the idea that other countries should pay more because they negotiate with drug corporations.”
President Trump also called for more competition in Medicare Part B, the part of Medicare that covers drugs dispensed in doctor’s offices. Medicare Part B is under current criticism for driving up medicine costs.
Former President Obama proposed reforms to the program in 2016 but eventually relented in the face of severe pressure from doctors and drug companies.