Nov 25, 2019

Impeachment hasn't dulled Trump's interest in drug prices

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Trump administration is pushing ahead with its drug pricing agenda even as impeachment sucks up all the political oxygen, with plans to advance some of its most ambitious regulations and to work with Congress on legislation.

Why it matters: Drug pricing remains a huge issue that both parties want to run on in 2020. For Trump, there's a lot of pressure: His most ambitious proposals have either been tabled, are tied up in the courts or have yet to be implemented.

Driving the news: The administration is planing to have the next regulatory phase of the international pricing index — a notice of proposed rulemaking — ready to issue within a month, a senior administration official said.

  • That leaves plenty of time for the industry to kill the proposal, but it's a signal that the administration isn't yet backing down from the proposal in the face of intense opposition from the drug industry.
  • The administration has also been working with states on potential rules to allow drugs to be imported from other countries.

The administration is also working with Congress on drug pricing legislation, and thinks that it's still possible that the Senate passes a bill by the end of the year.

  • The official said that the administration is working with Sens. Chuck Grassley and Ron Wyden to add a monthly cap on what seniors pay out-of-pocket for drugs through Medicare.
  • The administration also wants change the way that bill would take money from drugmakers, to address industry concerns that it would hit some drugs and therapeutic areas harder than others.

The bottom line: Trump certainly has a political incentive to get something done on drug prices, but some of these policies could go a long way toward helping Americans — especially seniors — afford their drugs.

Yes, but: These administrative actions haven't yet been formally proposed, and could take years to finalize — meaning there's no guarantee they'll actually happen before the 2020 election.

Go deeper: Scoop: Trump administration pushing new drug spending cap

Go deeper

Scoop: Trump administration pushing new drug spending cap

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Trump administration is pushing for a monthly cap on what seniors pay out-of-pocket for drugs through Medicare's pharmacy benefit to be added to a bipartisan drug pricing bill in the Senate, a senior administration official told Axios.

The big picture: The cost of prescription drugs is still a top priority of the administration, even amidst all of the impeachment furor — and the president could very much use a big win on the subject heading into the 2020 election.

Go deeperArrowNov 24, 2019

Winners and losers from Washington's drug pricing agenda

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Senate's drug pricing bill would likely be better for the pharmaceutical industry than either President Trump's agenda or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's.

Between the lines: Industry opposes anything that would hurt its bottom line, but of those three proposals, the Senate's "is a positive tradeoff," analyst Ronny Gal of AllianceBernstein wrote to investors this week.

Go deeperArrowNov 27, 2019

The strange bedfellows opposing drug-pricing bills across the U.S.

A group opposing drug pricing measures around the country includes major pharmaceutical companies as well as large construction-industry unions, the New York Times reports — strange bedfellows, to say the least.

Why it matters: Ads run by the Pharmaceutical Industry Labor-Management Association may confuse public perception of the nature of opposition to drug-pricing measures.

Go deeperArrowDec 4, 2019