publication date: Oct. 26, 2018

Trump’s drug pricing plan pegs Medicare Part B payments to international levels

By Paul Goldberg

The Trump administration earlier this week said it intends to start the rulemaking process aimed at aligning Medicare payments for drugs with prices paid outside the US.

The administration’s proposed five-year demonstration project aims to “test whether phasing down the Medicare payment amount for selected Part B drugs to more closely align with international prices; allowing private-sector vendors to negotiate prices for drugs, take title to drugs, and compete for physician and hospital business; and changing the 4.3 percent (post-sequester) drug add-on payment in the model to reflect 6 percent of historical drug costs translated into a set payment amount, would lead to higher quality of care for beneficiaries and reduced expenditures to the Medicare program.”

The administration announced its intentions in an “advance notice of proposed rulemaking.” The proposal hasn’t been published in the Federal Register, which means that public comment hasn’t yet begun.

Simultaneously, the administration published a report that compares Medicare’s payments for 27 prescription drugs with average prices paid in countries described as economically similar.

“The Medicare program pays nearly twice as much as it would pay for the same or similar drugs in other countries,” the report concludes.

“It is a genuine case of freeloading,” Alex Azar, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, said in his remarks at Brookings Institution …The gravy train is ending.” Azar’s remarks are posted here.

“Talking about foreign freeloading is just a talking point, but ironically this proposal freeloads off of other countries actions and negotiation to lower reimbursement rates in US,” … Continue reading Trump’s drug pricing plan pegs Medicare Part B payments to international levels

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