The Trump administration released its blueprint for lowering skyrocketing prescription drug prices Friday, a strategy that has already saved patients nearly $9 billion.
President Donald Trump, along with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, outlined their four-pronged approach to making medications more affordable during an afternoon press conference. Their approach includes: expanding access to generic drugs of more expensive brand names, sweeping Medicare reforms that allow better price negotiation, removing incentives for high list prices and drastically reducing the out-of-pocket expenses of America’s seniors.
“President Trump and his Administration are already delivering on the promise to lower drug prices for American patients,” Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “In the past year we have been very successful increasing competition and curbing high drug prices and are pleased to report that FDA’s 2017 generic drug approvals in 2017 saved prescription drug buyers in America nearly $9 billion.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration set a record in 2017 for approving the most generic drugs in the history of the regulatory agency. A sharp increase in drug approvals coupled with new FDA guidance that helps companies complete the generic drug approval process faster led to $8.8 billion in savings for prescription drug buyers.
A priority of their strategy will be putting an end to the gaming of the FDA’s generic drug approval process. Currently, when a company submits a generic drug for FDA approval, it is granted a 180-day exclusivity period, which blocks other companies from submitting their own generics and ensuring monopolies for certain drug companies. The Trump administration aims to remove this barrier as a way to expand pricing competition among pharmaceutical companies.
In addition to reforms at the FDA, the administration will make changes to both Medicare Part D and B that will allow for the negotiation of lower list prices for medications. They also plan to make generic medications free for low-income seniors. (RELATED: Sessions Announces Indictments Tied To Massive Chinese Fentanyl Network)
Trump is focusing much of his effort on ending what he calls “global freeloading,” where by countries with socialized medicine subsidize their precription drug market with U.S. taxpayer funding. The U.S. currently funds more than 70 percent of profits from brand named drugs among countries part of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, while also having the highest per-capita spending on pharmaceuticals overall.
“We will never rest until this job of unfair pricing is a total victory for the U.S.A.,” Trump said at Friday’s press conference.