Trump outlines new plan to lower Medicare drug prices, end ‘rigged’ system

Health, Fitness & Food

President Donald Trump said Medicare will start negotiating drug prices to bring costs in line for its Part B coverage with what other nations pay for the same drugs.

released a report earlier in the day that said the U.S. pays 1.8 times more, and some times four times as much, for prescriptions covered by Medicare Part B than other nations.

“The United States will finally be able to confront one of the most unfair practices … that drives up the cost of medicine,” Trump said. “For decades other countries have rigged the system so that American patients are charged much more, and in some cases much, much more for the exact same drug,” he said.

Medicare reimburses the list price of the drug plus 6 percent, so capping price increases could help lower the program’s costs. Total Medicare drug spending reached $162 billion in 2015, according to data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

“Because @POTUS

wants to end global freeloading, we compared prices for the most costly physician-administered drugs that are covered and paid for by Medicare Part B,” Azar tweeted. The “prices for Part B drugs in America exceed the prices paid in countries with similar economic conditions.”

In May, Trump said it was time to end the “global freeloading once and for all,” referring to how some countries set price controls and therefore pay less for drugs than Americans, while U.S. companies invest in research and drug development.

—CNBC’s Angelica LaVito contributed to this report.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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