Trump promises to lower drug prices but blueprint lacks details

President Donald Trump speaks during a roundtable discussion on tax reform at the Cleveland Public Auditorium in Cleveland Ohio U.S

The plan recommends bolstering competition, allowing private plans to negotiate discounts for Medicare beneficiaries, creating incentives to lower list prices and reducing consumers' out-of-pocket spending.

President Donald Trump speaks during an event about prescription drug prices with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, left, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Friday, May 11, 2018.

Even Trump's tough talk about going after other nations that negotiate lower prices for their citizens - which the president labeled "free loading" - was accompanied only by instructions to his trade negotiators to raise this issue in talks with USA trading partners.

Pharma watchers waited with bated breath for Friday's drug pricing speech from President Donald Trump-who famously said the industry is "getting away with murder".

(NYSE:ESRX) also rose, climbing about 2.6 percent to close at $72.80 on Friday, as the company struck a populist tone in a statement saying that it "stands up to drug companies and drug stores to make sure that everyone - patients, employers, health plans, unions and public programs - get a fair deal for the money they spend". "This is a total rip off and we are ending it". His plan calls on the Food and Drug Administration to accelerate the approval of more over-the-counter drugs and introduce more generic and biosimilar drugs to increase competition.

"Finally, as we demand fairness for American patients at home we will also demand fairness overseas". The policy blueprint also calls for giving health plans flexibility to negotiate lower prices for high-cost drugs without competition.

"In some cases, medicines that cost a few dollars in a foreign country, cost hundreds of dollars here", Trump said.

"Consumers are ultimately going to be the judge of this announcement", said Dan Mendelson, a health care consultant. The administration would, for one example, stop limiting pharmacists' ability to tell Medicare Part D patients when they could pay less by not using insurance. "Don't be fooled: President Trump and his administration are bought and paid for by Big Pharma".

Trump, meanwhile, promised big results.

"Everyone in the system is wetting their beak along the way", Azar said.

"It's so hard for seniors, especially to afford the prices we have to pay", she said. A drug maker will negotiate with the entity paying for the drug, which, in the US, is often a pharmacy benefits manager, such as Express Scripts, or a health plan administered by a business or a union. Last year was a record-breaking year for new drug approvals from the FDA.

And older drugs for common ailments like diabetes and asthma routinely see price hikes around 10 percent annually. That's more than twice the $497 per person spent in the United Kingdom, which has a nationalized health care system. "Trump abandoned his campaign commitment to Medicare Part D negotiation. and shamefully aims to beat up on other countries to make them pay more".

Medicare is the largest purchaser of prescription drugs in the nation, covering 60 million seniors and Americans with disabilities, but it is barred by law from directly negotiating lower prices with drugmakers.

But Republicans have consistently opposed such efforts.

Topher Spiro, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, argued that a major reason pharma stocks rose as Trump formally announced his plan is because the president placed blame for high us drug prices on the low prices in nations with "socialized healthcare"-exonerating American drug giants from any blame for soaring costs".

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