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In State of the Union, Trump tells Congress: ‘Do more’ to lower drug prices | STAT News

WASHINGTON — In his State of the Union address Tuesday, President Trump touted his administration’s work to reduce the price of prescription drugs and called on Congress to take further action.

But his remarks on the issue were light on specifics — and in some cases, misleading.

“Already, as a result of my administration’s efforts, in 2018 drug prices experienced their single largest decline in 46 years,” Trump said. “But we must do more.”

But he wasn’t talking about the actual “list prices” that drug companies set — and list prices did not drop in 2018. In fact, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar argued in an op-ed for STAT last week that drug prices continue to rise.

Related: Alex Azar: Why drug prices keep going up — and why they need to come down
Instead, Trump was instead referring to a little-known statistical measurement called the consumer price index for drugs, which did show such a decline. However, researchers have found that particular measure diverges with other ways of estimating drug spending.

The line did not draw applause from everyone in the room Tuesday, but many of his other calls to lower drug prices did. The enthusiasm from Trump, as well as from both Democrats and Republicans in Congress, underscored a growing sense that a divided Washington could legislate a change in the next two years.

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In State of the Union, Trump tells Congress: ‘Do more’ to lower drug prices.