Trump Administration Unveils Proposal to Bring Down Price of Prescription Drugs

Nick Kangadis | October 16, 2018
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I’m not usually one to agree with government interference. But as long as they are helping the people with their moves, instead of placing more restrictions on the people, I think I can get on board with this one.

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar has proposed a new federal rule that would force pharmaceutical companies who advertise their prescription drugs through television to list the price of the drug in the commercial. The idea here being that if pharmaceutical companies had to disclose the price of their drugs upfront the average price of prescription drugs would go down.

According to the proposal:

This proposed rule would revise the Federal Health Insurance Programs for the Aged and Disabled by amending the Medicare Parts A, B, C and D programs, as well as the Medicaid program, to require direct-to-consumer (DTC) television advertisements of prescription drugs and biological products for which payment is available through or under Medicare or Medicaid to include the Wholesale Acquisition Cost (WAC, or “list price”) of that drug or biological product. We are proposing this regulation to improve the efficient administration of the Medicare and Medicaid programs by ensuring that beneficiaries are provided with relevant information about the costs of prescription drugs and biological products so they can make informed decisions that minimize not only their out-of-pocket costs, but also expenditures borne by Medicare and Medicaid, both of which are significant problems.

Even if prices don’t go down as a result of the proposed rule change, at least these companies would be forced to be transparent in their practices.

“The president said in May he wanted to bring this kind of transparency and accountability to the drug industry so that he could bring drug prices down,” Azar told Fox News’ Bret Baier on Monday. “He’s delivering on that today.”

In December 2017, AARP reported on the rising costs of prescription medication for “older Americans,” reporting that “retail prices for prescription drugs continue to rise at significantly higher rates than inflation.”

According to the AARP:

According to the report, retail prices for 768 prescription drugs commonly used by older Americans rose by an average of 6.4 percent in 2015, the latest year for which data are available. The report also found that for 528 medications many older adults take every day to control chronic conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure, the average retail price was $12,951 in 2015, more than three times the average price for such drugs in 2006.

The costs of prescription drugs were three times what they were just nine years prior, and that statistic is from three years ago! This proposal might just be what Americans need to keep the pharmaceutical companies honest — at least somewhat honest.

For Azar’s breakdown of the new proposal, watch below: