Trump challenges socialized medicine free riding on US drug research
President Trump is set to propose the most comprehensive plan to tackle prescription drug prices in history, the White House boasted Thursday, setting a high bar for an upcoming address in which Mr. Trump plans to put “American patients first” by cracking down on “freeloading” by foreign nations and requiring Medicare to give a leg up to seniors.The Canadians, Brits, and European socialized medicine purveyors have been taking advantage of US research costs. If they paid their fair share of these costs, American patients would have fairer prices.
Senior administration officials say developed nations tamp down drug prices for their own citizens, knowing they can rely on Americans to subsidize the costly research that goes into developing life-savings cures here at home.
Yet Mr. Trump, who just rattled Europeans by withdrawing from the Iranian nuclear deal, plans to lean on other nations again by outlining ways he can force foreign consumers to pay more in a major Friday address.
Officials were reluctant to say how they would pull that off, building anticipation for the speech by Mr. Trump, a former reality-TV star who relishes high ratings and suspense.
Still, they said many of the changes can be done by Mr. Trump administratively, without relying on a highly polarized Congress in a midterm election year.
Administration officials said the address will focus on four areas — insisting on higher prices abroad, so Americans can pay less; slashing list prices for drugs; reducing out-of-pocket costs; and giving seniors a better deal under Medicare.
For instance, low-income seniors would get free generic versions of drugs under his plan and the government would tie price increases for drugs under Medicare Part B to the rate of inflation.
The administration also says it wants to crack down on companies who “game” the patent system by denying competitors the information they need to develop generics.
Mr. Trump is also expected to target pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), who negotiate drug discounts and rebates from pharmacies and manufacturers on behalf of commercial health plans and self-insured employers. The administration says the higher list price, the higher the rebate that PBMs get, so they want to reconfigure incentives so that consumers win out.