Trump issues a decree on priority drug prices

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The Trump administration promulgated a decree requiring US pharmaceutical companies to charge Medicare less for their top 50 most expensive prescription drugs than any other industrialized country in the world pays for. “Americans have the right to demand most favored nation treatment from pharmaceutical giants,” the president said.

Bolshaya Pharma is likely to appeal against Trump’s order in court. The development and testing of new drugs is very expensive, and manufacturers traditionally “recoup” their costs for them on American consumers; drugs are sold abroad at cost or even cheaper. Outside the United States, purchases are made, as a rule, by a single wholesale buyer – the state, which puts US exporters in front of a difficult choice: either you provide us with discounts, or you do not enter our market at all.

The idea of ​​regulating drug prices is not at all nice to Republicans, it is much closer to Democrats. Back during the 2016 campaign, Trump advocated for Medicare to directly negotiate prices with manufacturers; The GOP was strongly opposed. Manufacturers are currently negotiating with the intermediaries established by Medicare, usually large pharmacy chains, who receive discounts from “big pharma”, but keep them, rather than pass them on to the end consumer. Trump’s Health Minister Alex Azar is keen to end this practice.

Azar would also like to relax the rule that, in an effort to prevent collusion between doctors and the pharmaceutical industry, prohibits them from jointly determining the best treatment for specific patients.

According to the current rules, any changes to the drug pricing policy should be limited in scope and introduced in stages over many years on a trial basis. Trump’s initiative is broad in scope and is thought of as coercive, not voluntary-experimental, which makes it extremely vulnerable in the courts. Pharmaceutical companies also point out – at first glance, quite reasonably – that Trump’s order essentially transfers the power to foreign governments to determine the prices of medicines in the United States. This refers to the point that in America they should be lower than abroad.

In late August, the White House and Bolshaya Pharma were close to an agreement to cut drug prices, but then the administration demanded that the opposite side send millions of pensioners $ 100 drug discount cards – and the agreement collapsed.

Trump and his entourage believe that in retaliation, Pfizer deliberately announced the COVID-19 vaccine after the election, so that Biden could credit himself for it.

Published in the newspaper “Moskovsky Komsomolets” No. 48 of November 27, 2020

Newspaper headline:
Big farm: where it was born, it should be useful there

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