President Donald Trump will roll out dozens of initiatives that will ensure Americans have access to the best prescription drug care possible while respecting innovation, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar said Friday.
"He will be rolling out the single most comprehensive approach to making prescription drugs affordable of any president in the history of the United States," Azar told Fox News' "Fox and Friends."
"Dozens of initiatives, smart, targeted, efficient, but still respecting innovation, still ensuring patients in America have access to the best therapies."
The president is scheduled to roll out the program in full during an appearance at the White House Rose Garden at 2 p.m. Friday.
The first strategy will include increased competition in the drug markets, Azar said.
"What we're going to do is make sure we're getting rid of any gaming by these branded prescription drug companies, to make sure they're not preventing access for new generics coming on the market and these new biosimilars, which are the generics of these really complex expensive drugs," said Azar. "We want to get those on the market as soon as possible and so that there's competition."
"We're going to go after any type of gaming of our patent system, any anti-competitive behavior, anything that keeps prices artificially up," said Azar.
The administration also plans to give Medicare Part D better tool for discounts, he continued.
"Some of our government programs have gotten a little bit dated, compared to the tools we have in the commercial marketplace where we can negotiate better sometimes," said Azar. "We want to free up our government programs to be able to negotiate the same kind of good deals that we get in commercial."
There are also some parts of the government programs in which no negotiations are held at all, and "we want to use the private sector tools that we have in other parts of our program to negotiate discounts for those drugs to bring savings to the system down and savings for our senior citizens."
There will also be new incentives to get drug manufacturers to lower their prices, said Azar.
"Right now, in this bizarre system of drug pricing we have in the United States, every incentive, it's towards higher list prices,because everybody in the system gets a cut off of that list price except the patient," said Azar. "We want to reverse a lot of those financial dynamics. so that the drug companies have actually an incentive for lower prices."
The administration also will push for lower out of pocket spending, said Azar.
"The president's already called in his budget for changes to the prescription drug program in Medicare that would allow senior citizens who hit his catastrophic period to pay nothing out of pocket," said Azar. "We're going to go after some practices that really impair senior citizens' ability to get the best deal when they walk into the pharmacy for their drugs, go after frankly some pretty outrageous practices."
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