Trump officials explore importing prescription drugs
Key ObamaCare, drug pricing regs under review
GOP looks to blunt attacks on rising premiums
Merck to lower some drug prices
(The Hill) It’s “Congress Friday” as lawmakers head out of town and most of the news is coming from the administration.
We’ll start with drug pricing:
The Trump administration is stepping up its efforts to fight high drug prices, frustrated with media coverage saying their proposals so far have not had much effect.
The Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday said it is exploring allowing importation of drugs to create competition when there is a price spike for an off-patent drug. That would be one of the most significant steps yet to target high prices.
The details: The Food and Drug Administration is forming a working group to examine how the U.S. could import pharmaceuticals from abroad “in the event of a dramatic price increase for a drug produced by one manufacturer and not protected by patents or exclusivities,” the Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement Thursday.
Other drug pricing moves to watch:
HHS also sent a cryptic notice on a proposed regulation to OMB Thursday, which sent the health-care world scrambling to figure out what it could mean.
The notice says there is a regulation coming about restricting the rebates that drug companies pay to Pharmacy Benefit Managers, perhaps moving to a simpler system where there is a single, fixed price for a drug.
The administration has said it wants to move in this direction before, but the details of the proposal are not yet known.
The regulation is deemed “economically significant,” which means it will have an impact of at least $100 million.
Merck to lower prices on some drugs:
The pharmaceutical company Merck on Thursday announced it would lower the costs of some drugs in its portfolio.
The company will drop the price of Zepatier, a Hepatitis C drug, by 60 percent, and decrease the costs of “several other” drugs by 10 percent …
Read the full story at The Hill.