President Trump and his administration are determined to move forward on a sweeping initiative to address the rising cost of prescription treatments and, for once, the drug lobby may be unable to block the effort. A blueprint revealed earlier this month contained a number of proposals — some more vague than others — that included allowing further private negotiation in the Medicare program and ending the drug rebate program.
“The policy of trying to deal with this by defending the high prices, that’s not going to cut it anymore,” Kenneth Kaitin, director of the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, said in a recent interview. “All the stars are aligned right now for something to happen and the industry realizes they have to be part of the solution or they are going to end up with something they are not happy with.”
Companies may find it advantageous to act quickly, too, since doing so could appease a president who often just wants to notch a win. Trump said at a bill signing in May that he expected some pharmaceutical manufacturers to voluntarily lower the price of drugs by a “massive” amount in the coming weeks.
The industry's shift may also be an acknowledgment of the federal officials who are crafting the Trump administration’s plan. Individuals at the negotiating table for the federal government include former top executives from drug companies like Amgen Inc. and Eli Lilly & Co. who are knowledgeable of the complexities of the current pricing system and have an understanding of the industry’s position.
We'll see if this leads to anything, but it's certainly a move in the right direction, and the big pharma companies seem spooked enough to be going along.