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U.S. pharma industry slams Trump’s plan to base U.S. drug prices on other countries

Country : U.S.

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LONDON, 4 Jan (APM) - The U.S. pharma industry has hit out at President Donald Trump’s plans to base some U.S. drug prices on those of other countries.
Trade body PhRMA on Thursday published its response to proposals for an international pricing index (IPI) model for Medicare Part B medicines, saying it could put patient access at risk and impact R&D.
Trump announced the IPI in October, saying at the time he was taking aim at "global freeloading” (APMHE 60322).
Under the proposals, which would be part of wide-ranging drug pricing reforms, the IPI would cover most of the medicines in Part B of Medicare, the national health insurance programme for the elderly and people with disabilities. Part B of the programme includes expensive physician-administered drugs such as infusions.
The IPI would aim to bring the U.S. prices of these products in line with other developed nations, which tend to pay less than the U.S. for innovative products due in part to the ability to negotiate for a single-payer healthcare system.
The potential IPI model would start in spring 2020 and operate for five years until spring 2025, according to the website of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which administers Medicaid.
A report published shortly after the announcements showed that U.S. drug prices for products available under Medicare Part B were almost double the international average overall (APMHE 60339).
PhRMA is not convinced of the benefits of the IPI model, however, saying the Trump administration should “shift its focus to market-based and value-driven reforms of Medicare Part B”.
It raised several concerns, including that the CMS would rely on prices set by countries that “artificially suppress reimbursement rates for medicines, including physician-administered drugs” as governments are the primary or only payer of healthcare and medicines.
“These types of price control policies should be avoided in the United States because they reduce incentives for research and development, can undermine intellectual property protections, and harm patient access to clinically beneficial treatment options,” it said.
Other concerns include the potential impact on access to medicines, saying that just half of new Part B medicines launched since 2011 are available in the 14 potential comparator countries and that these drugs arrive 18 months later, on average.
PhRMA published its concerns at the same that the Wall Street Journal reported that more than more than 30 pharma companies had raised the prices on hundreds of medicines in the U.S.
The average increase was 6.3%, according to an analysis by Rx Savings Solutions.
Ben Wakana, executive director of Patients For Affordable Drugs, said in a statement: “We’re two days into the New Year, and drug corporations couldn’t wait any longer to unleash another round of price hikes.
“This time, CEOs like Allergan’s Brent Saunders had the gall to claim it’s responsible to ratchet up drug prices at three times the rate of inflation. We can expect more price hikes throughout 2019. The drug industry can’t police itself, so patients will double down to fix the broken system and end these drug pricing abuses.”
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