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American Patients First Act: Bringing Drug Prices Back to Earth

Posted By Louise Probst, Thursday, June 7, 2018
On May 11th, President Trump and Secretary Azar announced the American Patients First plan. It is designed to respond to "astronomically high drug prices" and address the President's campaign promise to lower the cost of pharmaceuticals in the country. 
While the implementation timeline set forth by the Secretary spans weeks, months, and years, there is a clear desire from the President and the American public to get things moving. A recent poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 80% of Americans believe that drug costs are unreasonably high, and just over half of the public (52%) says enacting legislation to lower the price of pharmaceuticals should be a "top priority" for the Federal government.
The plan underscores three main areas of focus: tougher negotiations, greater options (competition) for delivering medications currently administered as part of the medical benefit, and reduced patient payment amounts, perhaps through a requirement related to point of sale rebates. A long list of other possible actions has been identified for consideration. The list includes requiring pharmaceutical companies to disclose prices in product advertisements, which some think is beyond the legal abilities of the FDA, and requiring fiduciary status for Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs).
Little disagreement is being voiced, as public outrage heightens daily over unaffordable prescription drug costs. Americans feel the pinch of exorbitantly-priced new medicines, as well as previously inexpensive generic drugs with prices now growing tenfold overnight, and they are being quite vocal about their dissatisfaction. There is much work to be done to thoroughly examine opportunities and design proposed actions across the myriad of interested parties. The BHC will be following and sharing developments of the plan and advocating for purchaser and consumer interests. Please contact Bridget Haeg Montroyor me with related questions, thoughts, and suggestions as we work together to ensure that, in the end, the long-term interests of American patients come first.
Warm regards,

Louise Probst
BHC Executive Director


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