New Trump Medicare drug-price rules denounced as political revenge by industry

Modesto Morganelli
Novembre 21, 2020

(CNN)President Donald Trump unveiled two controversial rules on Friday aimed at reducing drug prices - a last-ditch effort to fulfill a key 2016 promise that immediately sparked legal threats from the pharmaceutical industry and condemnation from Democrats.

The second action announced on Friday aims to make US drug prices more competitive by linking prices paid for prescriptions under Medicare to prices charged for the same drugs in other countries. "I hope they have the courage to keep because the powerful drug lobby, Big Pharma, is putting pressure on people like you would not believe", Trump said, referencing one of the rules. Insurers that deliver Medicare's "Part D" prescription benefit say that would raise premiums.

He also alluded to the fact that he may not be in office next year. The Trump administration disputes that and says its rule could potentially result in 30% savings for patients.

Trump came into office accusing pharmaceutical companies of "getting away with murder" and complaining that other countries whose governments set drug prices were taking advantage of Americans.

PhRMA, a trade group for pharmaceutical companies, called the rules "a reckless attack on the companies working around the clock to end this pandemic" and said it was looking at options to block them. Instead Trump began pursuing changes through regulations. Ambitious in scope, the legislation from Sens.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, a former drug company executive, said the rules will "break this model where patients suffer, where prices increase every year", while corporate insiders enrich themselves.

The President held a press briefing Friday that emphasized his commitment to America's seniors and patients affected by high medication costs. Drugmakers previously charged the USA more for medications compared to other countries.

The President also commended his administration for lowering the cost of insulin.

Prices for brand name drugs have continued to rise during Trump's tenure, but at a slower rate.

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