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President Unveils Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices

In a May 11 announcement from the White House, President Trump and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar unveiled the American Patients First blueprint, a plan to lower drug prices and reduce out-of-pocket costs for patients.

The blueprint focuses on four challenges in the American drug market:

  • high list prices for drugs;
  • lack of negotiation tools to lower prices for government programs and seniors;
  • high and rising out-of-pocket costs for consumers; and
  • international price controls.

The plan cites and builds on proposed changes to the 340B Drug Pricing Program presented in the president’s fiscal year 2019 budget, as well as the damaging cuts implemented through the calendar year 2018 Outpatient Prospective Payment System final rule.

Last week’s announcement was accompanied by a request for information (RFI) seeking stakeholder feedback to shape future policy development and agency action on the issue. While not directly proposing policy related to the 340B program, the RFI seeks feedback on whether changes to patient definition, child site eligibility, and contract pharmacies would “refocus the program towards its intended purpose.”

The plan and RFI also include questions about site-neutral payment policies for drugs administered at hospitals and physician offices. It includes questions about site neutrality in both inpatient and outpatient settings, as well as for physician-administered drugs.

America’s Essential Hospitals is analyzing the blueprint and accompanying RFI and plans to submit feedback to HHS. Responses to the RFI are due July 16.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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About the Author

Rachel Schwartz is a policy associate at America's Essential Hospitals.