Medicine

Sec. Azar: Plan in Works for Canadian Meds

Sec. Azar: Plan in Works for Canadian Meds

"For too long American patients have been paying exorbitantly high prices for prescription drugs that are made available to other countries at lower prices", Azar said in a statement that credited President Trump for pushing the idea.

President Donald Trump's administration said Wednesday it will create a pathway allowing Americans to import the lower-priced drugs legally and safely.

The second pathway would allow manufacturers of FDA-approved drugs to import versions they sell in foreign countries, using a new national drug code that would potentially allow them to offer lower prices than those required by their current contracts with distributors, provided they could demonstrate to the FDA that the foreign versions were the same as the USA versions.

HHS Secretary Alex Azar claimed the plan was a pathway to ending "foreign freeloading". "Driving down drug prices requires a comprehensive approach and we must continue to look at all innovative solutions to this challenge". States, drug wholesalers and pharmacists would act as intermediaries for consumers.

The administration's move comes as the industry is facing a crescendo of consumer complaints over prices, as well as legislation from both parties in Congress to rein in costs.

Trump has appeared eager to tout a legislative victory in the lead up to the 2020 election, and polls have indicated a majority of voters across the political spectrum support a range of federal policies aimed at curbing prescription drug costs. "If we put the bargaining power all in the pharmaceutical industry's hands, we can't be surprised when they use that power to set really high prices". He and Democratic presidential candidate Sen. And long-available drugs like insulin have also seen price increases that have forced some people with diabetes to ration their own doses. Amy Klobuchar have introduced legislation to bring down the cost of of prescription drugs and to permit importation.

"The Administration has reason to believe that manufacturers might use this pathway as an opportunity to offer Americans lower-cost versions of their own drugs". For instance, he said, most Republicans in Congress oppose importation.

During Tuesday night's Democratic presidential debate, Sen.

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"What we're saying today is we're open", Azar said of the proposed rule, which must still be finalized.

But lowering drug prices has been a key promise of President Donald Trump, and a few months later, Azar said he was forming a work group that would explore allowing certain drugs that had seen major price hikes to be imported. Democrats in the House are pressing for a vote on a bill allowing Medicare to directly negotiate prices on behalf of millions of seniors enrolled in its prescription drug plan.

The battle over how to lower drug prices in the USA - and how to revamp the nation's health care system more generally - has moved to the forefront of the 2020 presidential race, as Trump has repeatedly vowed to "bring down drug prices" and several Democratic presidential candidates have unveiled proposals targeting the rising costs of prescription drugs.

"There is no way to guarantee the safety of drugs that come into the country from outside the United States' gold-standard supply chain", Ubl wrote in an emailed statement.

The second route, through draft guidance, would let companies bring in versions of drugs they sell overseas, using a special national code to offer a lower US price than what their current, Byzantine distribution contracts require.

But consumer groups have strongly backed the idea, arguing that it will pressure U.S. drugmakers to reduce their prices.

Canadian health officials have expressed concerns about US importation, Azar said, but he added that it is up to states that want to start a program to work to overcome the obstacles, such as a lack of supply, Canadians foresee. It argues that patients would be at risk of receiving counterfeit or adulterated medications.


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