Trump Talks Tough but Little Action Seen on Drug Prices

President Trump criticized the pharmaceutical industry for high drug prices during the campaign and since, but industry observers say his administration has done little to force the industry to change its ways. During the campaign, Trump backed allowing Medicare to negotiate directly with drug companies, as well as to expand importation of cheaper medicine. The White House has cited a hospital pay rule proposed by CMS as evidence of the administration fulfilling Trump's promises. The July proposal included a provision to change how much hospitals pay for certain Medicare drugs under a federal discount program. CMS said the aim was to pass savings on to seniors. Drug industry lobbyists say the administration is focusing its priorities elsewhere and letting Congress and FDA take the lead. FDA is aiming to boost competition by reducing regulatory barriers for generic drugs to get to the market, which could help to slow the growth or even lower the price of prescription drugs. "FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb is stepping up to the plate to do what is in his power. Competition from generics lowers drug prices," says David Mitchell, president and founder of Patients for Affordable Drugs. Meanwhile, Trump is reportedly leaning toward appointing a former executive at Eli Lilly as the next head of HHS.

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