June 16, 2017
NOTE TO REPORTERS
Trump Administration Meets on Pharmaceutical Proposals, We Can Tell You How They Will Affect Patients
Note: Politico reports that “OMB Director Mick Mulvaney is chairing a meeting with senior government officials on [prescription pricing] Friday, including HHS Secretary Tom Price, CMS Administrator Seema Verma, and FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, National Economic Council director Gary Cohn and assistant to the president, Reed Cordish. Representatives from the Health Resources and Service Administration, which administers the 340B drug pricing program, and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative are also expected to attend.”
Public Citizen experts can analyze any proposals under discussion that may be included in a potential Executive Order.
Preliminary reports suggest the key proposals will focus on so-called ‘value-based’ purchasing contracts and increased pressure on foreign governments to expand pharmaceutical patent rules.
These and related proposals under consideration by the Trump administration are worse than inadequate; they are likely to make medications even more unaffordable than now.
When prescription drug corporations talk about value-based contracts, it generally means that corporations should be able to charge even higher prices for drugs that show some demonstrable benefit and potential weakening of Medicaid limits on pharma profiteering. The U.S. government has long used trade pressures, such as the Special 301 ‘Watch List’ maintained by the U.S. Trade Representative, to pressure other countries to adopt U.S.-style patent protections, even at the expense of access to affordable generic medicines.
“Shockingly, the administration’s plans could increase drug prices rather than reduce them. If the early reports are correct, then in the guise of addressing the overwhelming public demand for lower prices, the Trump administration is poised to pick price-raising policies from Big Pharma’s corporate wish list. This would constitute a complete reversal from Candidate Trump’s statements, one that can be explained only as Big Pharma’s capture of the administration’s policymaking apparatus,” said Peter Maybarduk, director of Public Citizen’s access to medicines program.
“The way to reduce medicine prices in the United States is to reduce them in the United States. Raising prices on the world’s poor won’t lower prices in the U.S., and it won’t help Americans forced to choose between paying for their healthcare and paying the rent.”
Instead of increasing corporate power, the President should:
• Keep his promise to untie Medicare’s hands, so that Medicare can negotiate directly with prescription manufacturers for lower prices on behalf of America’s seniors. 92% of Americans support this proposal, which would save the government $16 billion per year;
• Support the “Stop Price Gouging Act,” S. 1369, introduced yesterday by U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), which would penalize EpiPen-style price spikes; and
• Exercise the U.S. government’s power under existing law to authorize generic competition with expensive patented medications.
In addition, Public Citizen’s experts can connect you to victims who have lost loved ones due to inadequate regulation and enforcement and who are eager to speak out against the RAA.
Peter Maybarduk, director of Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines Program, has helped organize recent congressional legislative responses to high medication prices and is a medication pricing system and intellectual property expert..