National Council for Behavioral Health

Skip to content
Find a Provider
The National Council logo
Capitol Connector
Your source for the latest updates from Capitol Hill. We translate policy into practice so you can learn how policy trends will affect your work and how best to prepare.

Stephanie Pellitt

, National Council for Behavioral Health

Trump Announces Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices

Share on LinkedIn
Featured image of the post

Last Friday, President Trump announced the Administration’s plan to lower drug prices in a speech entitled ‘American Patients First,’ which highlights steps the Administration has taken, outlines future actions, and requests public comment on “even bolder actions” to bring down drug prices. The wide-ranging proposals include reforms to Medicare Part D and Part B, Medicaid, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the 340B Drug Discount program, and more.

The plan — which largely builds upon the initiatives presented in the White House’s 2019 fiscal year budget proposal and previously outlined in a white paper from the Council of Economic Advisors — aims to address four key problems:

  1. High list prices (the price a drug manufacturer initially sets);
  2. Rising out-of-pocket costs for patients;
  3. Foreign governments “freeloading” on American innovation; and
  4. Obstacles to negotiation, particularly for high-cost medications.

The plan offers a slate of proposals designed to curb consumers’ out-of-pocket costs, increase competition through increased price transparency and faster drug approvals and improved negotiating power for insurers. The plan does not include reforms such as government-negotiated drug prices, drug importation, and reference pricing — all of which have faced opposition from drug manufacturers.

The National Council has raised concern that some of the plan’s cost-cutting strategies could impact Medicare Part D and its six protected classes of drugs. The protected classes, which include drugs used for treatment of mental illness, ensure patients receive access to a full range of available medications. The National Council’s Chuck Ingoglia explains the significance of this maintaining this policy, “for patients with the most challenging diagnoses — like cancer, epilepsy, HIV, organ transplant or mental illness — medications are not always interchangeable. It’s important, therefore, to ensure that doctors have every option available when treating these patients.”