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Prescription Drugs

  • Trump Administration Defends Plan to Lower Prescription Drug Prices  New York Times by Robert Pear — The Trump administration hit back on Monday against critics of President Trump's plan to reduce prescription drug prices, saying his ideas would be far more effective than remedies championed by Democrats. Democrats have long supported two proposals that Mr. Trump endorsed during the 2016 presidential campaign. The government, they say, should directly negotiate with drug manufacturers to obtain lower prices for Medicare beneficiaries. And consumers, they say, should be allowed to import pills from Canada and certain other developed countries where brand-name drugs often cost less.

  • GOP Chairman Plans Hearings on Trump Drug Pricing Proposals  The Hill by Peter Sullivan — House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) said Tuesday that he plans to conduct hearings on some of President Trump's new proposals to bring down drug prices. Brady said it is too early to tell if the committee will move legislation on the issue, but said he wanted to consider the ideas. "I think there's some very good ideas in that proposal and some very thoughtful ones that we need to be airing out," Brady told reporters.

  • Federal Dashboard Shows Medicare Drug Costs Soaring  Bloomberg News by Robert Langreth and Anna Edney — The U.S spent 60 percent more on drugs for Medicare patients in 2016 than it did in four years earlier, according to newly released federal data, countering pharmaceutical industry arguments that prescription medicine represents only a small and stable portion of health care costs. Among top-selling drugs in the program, the per-unit cost of Sanofi's Renvela, which is used by dialysis patients, climbed by an average of 21.6 percent between 2012 and 2016, the most recent year for which data are available. Unit costs for AbbVie Inc.'s Humira, a blockbuster rheumatoid arthritis drug, rose at an average pace of 18 percent a year during the same period, according to the figures released Tuesday by the Trump administration.

  • F.D.A. Names and Shames Drug Makers to Encourage Generic Competition  New York Times by Sheila Kaplan — Pharmaceutical companies that spend billions of dollars to develop new drugs do not want competitors to profit from inexpensive generic copies of blockbuster medicines. To avoid rivals, they fight for patent extensions, seek new uses for old products and, sometimes, prevent generic drug companies from obtaining samples. Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, calls this "gaming the system," and has vowed to stop it as part of the government's campaign to lower drug prices. On Thursday, the F.D.A. took a new tack and began posting a list of makers of brand-name drugs that have been the target of complaints, to persuade them to "end the shenanigans," in the commissioner's words.

  • Vermont Positioned for Cheaper Canadian Prescription Drugs  Associated Press — Vermont on Wednesday became the first state to create a program to import more affordable prescription drugs from Canada, but it's not clear whether it will get required federal approval. Republican Vermont Gov. Phil Scott said he supported the legislation because it could reduce costs for many Vermonters. "I'm in favor of doing whatever we can do reduce cost for Vermonters," Scott said. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services still needs to certify the program.

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