Trump Administration to Release New Rules Reducing Drug Costs - (The Wall Street Journal via NewsPoints Desk)

  • According to a person familiar with the matter, the Trump administration is planning on Friday to roll out two final rules aimed at lowering drug prices in the US, reported The Wall Street Journal.

  • One seeks to curb rebates paid to middlemen in Medicare and another would set the prices of certain prescription drugs in the US to their prices in other developed countries. The news source said both rules are expected to be final, meaning they have completed the required public comment period and can take effect immediately.

  • An earlier version of the rebate rule was withdrawn last year because some White House advisers raised concerns about actuarial reports showing it could increase Medicare premiums.

  • In July, Trump signed an executive order that revived the rule and added a requirement that it not raise premiums or increase federal spending. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar is expected to include a letter with the rule stating that it will not increase premiums, according to the person familiar with the plans.

  • Regarding the "favored nations" pricing rule, the government is expected to change how it pays for some drugs in Medicare Part B, which includes drugs administered by health providers, and Part D, by tying them to the prices in other developed countries, which are often lower than prices in the US.

  • However, the news source noted that the future of the rules once President-elect Joe Biden takes office is uncertain. Biden has called for a system or federal group to evaluate fair prices for drugs and called for limits on the prices of newly launched drugs.

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