- Drug price transparency and reducing out-of-pocket patient costs were at the forefront of President Donald Trump’s remarks on drug pricing today.
“One of my greatest priorities is to reduce the price of prescription drugs. In many other countries, these drugs cost far less than what we pay in the United States,” the President said in his speech. “That is why I have directed my Administration to make fixing the injustice of high drug prices one of our top priorities. Prices will come down.”
As the President touched on issues with the Medicare 340B program and Medicare Part D, he noted that drug manufacturers, purchasing plans, and other key stakeholders are not doing enough to support patients facing extraordinary drug costs.
“More can also be done across the Medicare program to provide beneficiaries with the lower costs and greater price transparency resulting from better negotiation,” according to a recently-released drug pricing blueprint from the Department of Health & Human Services.
Specifically, the Administration will focus on price transparency with drug companies. Manufacturers should be offering this information freely to empower patients, payers, and pharmacists to make judicious treatment decisions. Patients should not have to choose between treatment and insurmountable medical bills, the HHS blueprint contends.
“American patients have the right to know what their prescription drugs will really cost before they get to the pharmacy or get the drug,” HHS says. “Too many people abandon their prescriptions at the pharmacy when they discover the price is too high, and too many patients are never informed of lower cost options.”
Thus far, the Administration has tackled changes to Medicare Part D and the Medicare Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) has worked to increase drug price transparency for patients, ideally lowering out-of-pocket patient costs. The Administration has also called to ends in cost-sharing between patients and Medicare plans.
“Building on the ideas already proposed, HHS is considering even bolder actions to bring down prices for patients and taxpayers,” the report continues.” These include new measures to increase transparency; fix the incentives that may be increasing prices for patients; and reduce the costs of drug development.”
Another part of the Administration’s proposal pertains to patient and provider education on drug pricing. Specifically, HHS is looking to improve provider and patient education about biosimilars and appropriate drug alternatives for patients. This knowledge will help empower patients and their providers to make better and more cost-effective treatment choices, the Administration says.
“Health plans and pharmacy benefit managers have found new ways to inform prescribers and pharmacists, when prescribing or dispensing a new prescription, about the formulary options, expected cost-sharing, and lower-cost alternatives specific to individual patients,” the report noted.
The HHS report and Trump’s speech included calls to action in the healthcare industry to contribute ideas for reducing drug costs and cutting out-of-pocket patient spending.