U.S. President Donald Trump said he would make an announcement next week that would bring down prescription drug prices “really, really substantially.”
Trump didn’t further explain the action he would take in comments to reporters at the beginning of a dinner Tuesday with corporate leaders at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
Trump said the prices of prescription drugs made by Pfizer, Novartis and other pharmaceutical companies were “too high.” He added, “We are announcing something next week which is going to get them down really, really substantially.”
Trump spoke hours after Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar described a change in Medicare in an interview with Bloomberg.
Starting next year, private insurers that provide coverage to about 20 million seniors through Medicare Advantage would get new powers to bargain over drugs administered in doctors’ offices or hospitals, Azar said.
Currently, such drugs are paid for at their cost, plus a percentage fee for doctors, under what’s known as Medicare Part B.
The White House didn’t immediately respond to requests for more details about Trump’s remarks.
The treatments subject to the change include infusions for rheumatoid arthritis, eye injections to treat certain conditions that cause vision loss, as well as some cancer therapies. The government and consumers in the plans spent $25.7 billion on Part B drugs in 2015.
The change would bring what Medicare pays closer in line to what the private sector gets. In the commercial market, health insurers negotiate discounts of 15 percent to 20 percent or more on the same drugs for which Part B has paid full price.
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