Nov 13, 2019 - Health

Azar: Trump says America should get "the best deal" on drug prices

Secretary of Health and Human Services Alexander Azar

Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar. Photo: Chuck Kennedy

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said at an Axios event on Wednesday that President Trump wants drug prices to be lower in the U.S. than in other developed countries, discussing the idea of "most favored nation status" to reflect that.

"[Trump's] view — which he’s articulated publicly — is that America ought to be getting the best deal among developed countries. That is the terminology of most favored nation status."

Background: The administration's international pricing index would have aligned what Medicare pays for some prescription drugs with what other major countries pay. Now, Azar says Trump wants to go further.

  • When Trump first started talking about "most favored nation status" over the summer, it wasn't clear what the shift in terminology meant.

What Azar said: The U.S. pays "over 180% [of] what European, Japanese and other developed country peers pay. What we suggested was reducing that 180% premium by 30%. The president did not find that satisfactory."

Go deeper: Axios' Deep Dive on the maze of prescription drug pricing

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