Trump announces two moves aimed at lowering drug prices

It was a busy day on the drug pricing front, and President Trump made a rare, post-election appearance in the White House briefing room (though he did not take questions).

The two new moves:

  • To lower drug prices in Medicare Part B to match the lower prices paid in other wealthy countries, a proposal known as “most favored nation.”
  • Eliminate the rebates that drugmakers pay to “middlemen” known as pharmacy benefit managers, in a bid to simplify the drug pricing system and pass the discounts on to consumers instead.

There’s a lot of uncertainty ahead, though. The president acknowledged that drug companies fiercely opposed his “most favored nation” move, noting ads they have run against it. “The drug companies don’t like me too much,” he said.

The future of Trump’s proposals could depend on whether the Biden administration decides to keep them, which Trump seemed to acknowledge even though he has not conceded the election.

“I hope they have the courage to keep it,” Trump said.

Industry groups are also likely to launch legal challenges to the moves, adding another dose of uncertainty.

Democrats’ reaction: Two top House Democrats – Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. (N.J.) and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (Mass.) – called the moves “half-baked proposals that will likely be struck down in court.”