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Retailers praise Trump for taking on drug prices

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White House issues sweeping plan to boost competition, innovation

WASHINGTON —  CVS Health and Walgreens have commended President  Trump for vowing in a speech today to fight high drug prices.

Issuing a sweeping plan to bring down prices,  Trump again castigated drug manufacturers, while spreading blame to PBMs, wholesalers, foreign governments and his predecessors in Washington.

“Everyone involved in the broken system — the drugmakers, insurance companies, distributors, pharmacy benefit managers and many others — contribute to the problem,” the president said. “Government has also been part of the problem because previous leaders turned a blind eye to this incredible abuse.”

 Elements of the White House proposal include:

• Taking steps to end the gaming of regulatory and patent processes by drugmakers to unfairly protect monopolies.

• Advancing biosimilars and generics to boost price competition.

• Evaluating the inclusion of prices in drug makers’ ads to enhance price competition.

• Streamlining and accelerating the approval process for over-the-counter drugs.

Trump said the administration will take on the “tangled web of special interests,” citing the drug lobby, which spent $10 million in the first quarter of this year.

Walgreens, which had to pharmacists at the White House for the speech, said in a statement, “This 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.”

The retailer said it is committed “to partnership and collaboration with others in the supply chain to provide a better, more transparent and more effective approach to health care. We look forward to continuing to work with the administration and the entire pharmaceutical supply chain to help make medications more affordable and accessible.”

 CVS  sees every day “the impact rising drug costs have on our patients,” the company said.  “That’s why we have developed and supported innovative solutions to lower health care costs and we look forward to partnering with leaders to continue to do so. We commend the Trump administration’s focus on reducing the cost of prescription drugs, and we agree more can and needs to be done.

“CVS Health is already well positioned to implement many of the key proposals outlined by the administration.  Today, CVS Health 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. We believe this approach leads to greater transparency in drug prices, and unquestionably demonstrates the true cause of rising drug costs for consumers: high list prices set by pharmaceutical manufacturers.

“CVS Health 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.  This information reaches prescribers through an innovative e-prescribing system that can be utilized at the point of prescribing and at the pharmacy counter to quickly and seamlessly evaluate individual prescription savings opportunities in real time, saving patients up to $75 per prescription.

“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. And as we have previously said, CVS Health does not engage in gag clauses and we support efforts to ban them. We believe that, working together with the Administration and Congress, we can advance effective solutions that meet our shared goals.”


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