A health insurer group says it likes some of the Trump administration’s new proposals for controlling drug prices but believe that others could increase prices, by limiting health insurers’ ability to negotiate with the manufacturers.
President Donald Trump unveiled the proposals today at a briefing in the White House.
“Several of the president’s proposed solutions will have a real impact on lower the impact of drug prices on Americans,” America’s Health Insurance Plans said today in a statement.
The Washington-based group said it likes administration proposals to change drug patent rules, to encourage doctors to prescribe lower-priced medications, and to give insurers more overall flexibility in negotiations with drug manufacturers.
AHIP cited one proposal, to require Medicare Part D prescription drug plans to pass on the savings from drug manufacturer rebates at the pharmacy counter, as an example of a proposal that could backfire.
“Requiring drug rebates to be passed through to Medicare patients at the pharmacy counter would likely lead to higher drug prices from manufacturers, and would to higher premiums for seniors,” AHIP said in a response to the Trump administration proposals.
AHIP argued in a blog post two days ago that, in many cases, drug companies use rebates to encourage patients to ignore the underlying cost of drugs and use more expensive versions of the drugs.
Trump singled drug manufacturers and pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs) out for criticism.
But Express Scripts Inc., a St. Louis-based PBM that’s being acquired by Cigna Corp., praised the administration’s proposals.
“President Trump rightly recognizes [that] drug companies charge way too much, and their prices need to come down,” Express Scripts said. “In particular, we are pleased that the administration recognized and endorsed policies that we have advocated for over the years.”
Some of those policies include increasing the number of generic drugs available, and “gag clause” provisions that limit pharmacists’ ability to tell patients about ways to reduce their drug spending, Express Scripts said.