Trump and his HHS secretary, Alex Alzar, took to the Rose Garden to unveil his new plan, “American Patients First” (APF) to cut costs for prescription and over the counter (OTC) drugs in the US. His speech and initiatives come after criticism over the rising cost of healthcare and medications. Basing many of his policies in a strategy to remove low cost medications from foreign competitors, APF seeks to cut rebates and deals for middlemen in developing and marketing medications. Another key aspect of the policy are recommendations that aim to cut attributes of Part B to Part D of the Medicare programs which covers senior drug costs. This would aim to limit special protections for key medications and lower the cost of drugs overall. HHS Secretary, Alzar, also has made comments that indicate he would cut the Part D rebate altogether.
Most of the outlined initiatives come in as mere suggestions or still as questions. A lot of these policies will require further legislation from Congress, and not be able to be implemented in a swift succession of executive orders. As far as the Part D plan is concerned, this could impact a lot of senior citizens, which largely make up the Republican base and Trump supporters. Cutting drug rebates will not have immediate effects on lowering drug prices, and it wouldn’t effectively cover all drugs in similar ways, especially those that are more popular and necessary for access. This could affect how certain demographics vote come the midterm and general elections, since healthcare is a number one issue for many Americans. Ultimately, these initiatives are a business minded approach to creating more access to healthcare. What Trump doesn’t understand is that opening up more opportunities for Big Pharma to get involved in drug pricing in the US leaves more room for business control of pricing, and could impact the rest of the world’s drug pricing. Big Pharma can get more involved in drug pricing because it will be able to set prices and market prices in advertising. The cut of foreign competitors from the domestic market will also allow for pharmaceutical companies to gain more control of the industry and therefore, pricing of drugs.
Accessing Generic Drugs– Encourage family and friends to purchase generic drugs at a cheaper cost, this Consumer Report will tell you the best drugs to buy at a generic price. This will assist in eliminating the financial support that Big Pharma gets and will help you get a better price on drugs. Look further for hospitals that start nonprofits to get better access to necessary life saving drugs.
Health Care Advocates-Consider using this resource for major healthcare decisions. Their knowledge and experience can help you make the best decision for your wallet and for your health.
As always, contact your state’s elected officials and voice your concerns or support.
This Brief was compiled by Sophia Adams. If you have comments or want to add the name of your organization to this Brief please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.