According to a report in The New York Times, the White House and the pharmaceutical industry were close to an agreement late last month on a plan to make good on President Donald Trump's longstanding promise to lower drug prices.
Drugmakers would spend $150 billion to address out-of-pocket consumer costs and would even assume most of the co-payments that older Americans shoulder in Medicare's prescription drug program.
However, the agreement collapsed, with four people familiar with the discussions suggesting that the breaking point came when White House chief of staff Mark Meadows insisted the drugmakers pay for $100 cash cards, colloquially dubbed "Trump Cards," that would be mailed to seniors before November.
White House officials insist they did not plan to emblazon the president's name on the cards, which they envisioned sending to tens of millions of Americans to use for prescriptions, but sources said some drug companies bridled at being party to what they feared would be seen as an "11th-hour political boost for Trump."
"We could not agree to the administration's plan to issue one-time savings cards right before a presidential election," commented Priscilla VanderVeer, vice president of public affairs at PhRMA, adding that "one-time savings cards will neither provide lasting help, nor advance the fundamental reforms necessary to help seniors better afford their medicines."
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