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Prescription Drugs

  • Drug Plans Drop After Trump Official Targets PBM's Ahead of Speech Bloomberg News by Cristin Flanagan — Shares of CVS Health Corp. and Express Scripts Holding Co. slipped Monday after one of the Trump administration's top health-care officials said the companies' roles as intermediaries between drugmakers and health plans was hurting patients. Known as pharmacy-benefit managers, or PBMs, the plans negotiate with drugmakers to put their products on lists of covered drugs in return for discounts, and steer patients toward options that they say save them and employers money. Those dual roles are in conflict, said Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. "PBMs are serving two customers — being paid both by manufacturers for getting on formularies and by plans for managing their drug benefit. This makes it unclear who they're actually aligned with," Verma said in prepared remarks for a speech at the American Hospital Association Annual Membership Meeting in Washington. "The bottom line is that all of the incentives are lined up for manufacturers to set higher and higher prices."

  • To Lower Drug Costs at Home, Trump Wants Higher Prices Abroad New York Times by Robert Pear — President Trump, poised on Friday to unveil his strategy to lower prescription drug prices, has an idea that may not be so popular abroad: Bring down costs at home by forcing higher prices in foreign countries that use their national health systems to make drugs more affordable. On Tuesday, Mr. Trump rebuffed his European allies by withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal. Threatened tariffs on steel and aluminum have strained relations with other developed nations. And now the administration is suggesting policies that could hit the pocketbooks of some of America's strongest allies. "We're going to be ending global freeloading," Mr. Trump declared at a meeting with drug company executives in his first month in office. Foreign price controls, he said, reduce the resources that American drug companies have to finance research and develop new cures. The White House Council of Economic Advisers fleshed out the idea three months ago in a report that deplored the "underpricing of drugs in foreign countries."
  • Drug Industry Dodges Its Worst Fears in Trump’s Plan to Lower Prices  Bloomberg News by Anna Edney, Erik Wasson, and Robert Langreth — President Donald Trump’s plan to lower U.S. drug prices avoids some of the harshest steps that the pharmaceutical industry and the network of companies that distribute its products feared. Nowhere in the proposal does the administration call for two policies the industry most feared: having the government directly negotiate prices and allowing the importation of prescription drugs from overseas. Trump had previously backed both of those ideas, promising to use the government’s buying power to get better deals.

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