After waiting decades for Congress to arrange for lower drug prices, Donald Trump today announced he was bypassing Congress with four executive orders.
The Obama/Biden administration promised to lower drug prices, but they never made it.
Trump also created the “Right to Try” program that allows people who are terminally ill to try a drug that has not yet been released.
Insulin Price Drop
Boston man, Paul Madden, a senior-citizen diabetic who could not afford his inulin said, “Thank you, Mr. President for your leadership work on reducing the price of insulin and other diabetes-related medicine used by 34 million Americans.” After getting medicare last year, he realized he could not afford to pay for his insulin due to the excessively high prices paid for the drug by medicare.
Madden told the president “Your work, sir, to ensure that insulin is affordable under medicare, will help guarantee that I, and millions of seniors who take insulin realize healthier more productive independent happier lives. Thank you for continuing your commitment to ensure affordability and access for all who use insulin, for people with diabetes, and so that our children and grandchildren will directly benefit from our improved health.”
The president’s actions mean that the price for insulin drops from an unaffordable amount, to just $35 per month.
Sema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services explained the price change. “The senior savings model that we developed under the president’s leadership is going to reduce the cost of insulin to 35 dollars a month for our seniors and that represents a 66 percent savings.”
This one change can save a senior $5,000 per year.
Andrea Eccles a dental hygienist widow, with two children, from Brunswick Maryland told the story of her unaffordable copays. She explained that her copays for epipen used to be $20, but in recent years went to $100. Under the Trump administration, she said her own $150 monthly medicine bill has been reduced to around $15.
Thanking President Trump, she said, “Because of you, I’m spending hundreds of dollars less a month and this type of savings makes a really big difference for a single mother such as myself. I just want to thank you so much from the bottom of my heart and for all that you do and for all of your policies that are helping all of us Americans.”
One executive order helps fight kidney disease, helping with more transplants and better treatment, protects preexisting conditions, and ends the gag clause that prevented pharmacists from telling patients how to buy less expensive drugs.
The Trump administration has also approved a record number of affordable low-cost generics, more than any administration. Telehealth is dramatically expanded for Americans.
On August 25th, if an agreement cannot be reached with the pharmaceutical companies, Americans will get to pay for drugs at the same rate as “Favored Nations.” This means that whatever is the lowest price negotiated by any other country, Americans will pay the same amount.
This change will stop American seniors being pushed into traveling to Canada to buy their medicines.
Secretary Alex Azar said the President charged the agency with four goals:
- end foreign free riding
- improve how federal programs pay for drugs
- lower out of pocket expenses for US citizens
- get list prices down
In May 2018 President Trump created a Drug Pricing Blueprint. Prior to that, every year there was massive drug price inflation. Since the Drug Pricing Blueprint was set, that level of inflation stopped.
Secretary Azar said “And that was an incredible accomplishment. But you said, “That’s not good enough. I want more, even more change for the American people. And today you’re delivering. Allowing importation. Presidents before you have over and over again said they would allow the safe importation of drugs from lower cost countries. You’re the first President to deliver on it.”
Most federal health centers get substantial discounts on insulin and epi-pens, that they do not pass on to American consumers. Low income Americans will now see the benefit of those discounts.
Trump’s executive order takes on the middlemen, making $30 billion a year of concealed kickbacks flow to Medicare patients when they show up at the pharmacy. This will create an average of 30% discount on out-of-pocket expenses for consumers.