100 Days In, Trump Administration Says Plan to Lower Drug Prices Is Working
Health Care

100 Days In, Trump Administration Says Plan to Lower Drug Prices Is Working


The White House released its blueprint to lower drug prices on May 11, and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Monday touted the results it said it has achieved in the 100 days since.

In a new report, HHS said that there were 60 percent fewer brand-name drug price increases from May 11 through August 15 compared with the same period in 2017, and 54 percent more generic and brand-name drug price decreases. “At the time of the release of the blueprint, few observers believed that, within months, drug manufacturers would begin to change their annual ritual of significant price hikes,” the report says. “Yet that is what happened in the months following.”

Since the Trump blueprint was released, 15 companies have reduced list prices, rolled back planned price increases or committed to freeze prices for the rest of the year, the report says, calling such moves “an unprecedented recognition of the fundamental changes going on” in the prescription drug market.

"The pharmaceutical industry has responded with real changes, not out of altruism but because they're skating to where they see the puck going," HHS Secretary Alex Azar said.

But: “The HHS analysis did not break down the magnitude of the drug price increases that did occur, nor did officials compare those increases to last year's,” Modern Healthcare’s Susannah Luthi notes. And while Azar promises there is more action to come, critics call the Trump blueprint vague and say it will do little to affect the forces driving drug prices higher. Some also note that the pricing rollbacks or freezes announced by drug companies are just temporary, calling the moves window-dressing meant to give the Trump administration victories it can tout. Drug manufacturers increased the cost of 104 drugs in June and the first two days of July, according to a Wells Fargo Securities report cited by CNN last month.