Pharmacy chains praise Trump drug pricing plan

May 14, 2018

Major drug store chains - along with pharmacist organizations - praised President Donald Trump’s new plan to lower prescription drug prices.

The plan includes: not allowing drugmakers to unfairly protect monopolies, advancing biosimilars and generic drugs to boost competition, streamlining and accelerating the approval process for OTC drugs, evaluating the inclusion of prices in drug makers’ ads to enhance price competition, and updating Medicare’s drug-pricing dashboard to increase transparency.

The plan would also prohibit Medicare Part D contracts that include “gag rules” , which prevent pharmacists from informing patients when they could pay less out-of-pocket by not using insurance.

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Lowering drug prices is “an important issue for our patients and all payers of prescription drugs, and we believe today’s announcement by the Administration is a positive step forward in addressing the issue of rising drug prices,” Walgreens said in a statement. “We are committed to partnership and collaboration with others in the supply chain to provide a better, more transparent and more effective approach to health care.”

CVS Health also commended the Trump Administration's focus on reducing the cost of prescription drugs, “and we agree more can and needs to be done,” the drug store chain said in a. statement. "CVS Health is already well positioned to implement many of the key proposals outlined by the Administration.”

For example, CVS provides universal availability of rebates at the point of sale as an option for all clients to help their members save on out of pocket costs. CVS also provides patients with information on what they will pay out-of-pocket under their insurance plan for their prescription drugs and can also provide therapeutic alternatives that may be less expensive.

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"CVS Health also supports several new initiatives that will help patients save money on their prescriptions, including reforms to Medicare Part D rebates that provide savings for seniors-not a windfall for drug manufacturers-and establishing an out-of-pocket cap for beneficiaries in Medicare Part D, which would meaningfully benefit seniors with extremely high drug costs,” the retailer said.

Both the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the National Community Pharmacists Association praised Trump’s drug pricing plan, but are also waiting to get more information on the specifics.

“The president is …looking into further opportunities to consider requiring PBMs to act in the best interests of payers. NCPA has long supported requiring more regulation of PBMs, including acting as a fiduciary. NCPA supports the movement toward more transparency on this front,” said NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey in a statement from the organization.

In addition, Trump’s plan to prohibit ‘gag clauses’ in Medicare Part D contracts is a “win for pharmacies worried that a PBM will retaliate against them for looking out for the best interests of the patient,” Hoey said.

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