Trump plan for drug prices seen largely sparing industry | Reuters

The speech will address the high prices set by drugmakers, rising costs for consumers and barriers to negotiating lower prices for seniors in the government’s Medicare program, senior White House officials told reporters.

Health industry sources briefed on the plans expect the policy proposals to have a relatively modest impact on the healthcare system. They also expect Trump to sharply criticize foreign governments for paying less than the United States for prescription drugs.

The president has already abandoned ideas to lower drug prices that he supported during the 2016 election campaign, including allowing the government’s Medicare plan for older Americans to negotiate prices directly with drugmakers.

Critics say the Trump administration has been swayed by the powerful pharmaceutical lobby, which increased its reported spending in Washington by 30 percent last year. Trump’s Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar is a former Eli Lilly & Co executive.

Drugmakers argue that high prices for prescription medicines are necessary to fund development of much-needed innovative new treatments. But as scrutiny intensified, several pharmaceutical companies placed self-imposed limits on annual price increases. They have also tried to deflect blame for rising consumer costs on middlemen, such as PBMs like Express Scripts Holding, and to hospitals.

Trump has yet to take significant action on drug prices while in office, and a once-promised executive order on pricing never materialized.

Democrats have seized on the inaction as they prepare for congressional elections in October, with polls showing rising concern over healthcare costs among voters.

“Outrageous prescription drug prices are just another example of how President Trump is failing to deliver on his promises to the American people,” Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said on Thursday.

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Trump plan for drug prices seen largely sparing industry | Reuters.