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News & Views: 9/8 - 9/14

September 15, 2020

President Trump has signed and released the Executive Order on Lowering Drug Prices by Putting America First.

The long-awaited order replaced the unpublished executive order from late July. This order includes both Medicare Part B & Part D and expands which drugs are covered under the new “most favored nations” pricing method. The most favored nations method states that Medicare will only pay as much as the developed country with the lowest price for the drug. To review the executive order, click here.

  • This order has gotten little to no support outside of the administration. To read an NPR article on the response to the order, click here.  

HHS sent a rule for President Trump’s approval that would allow states to import Canadian drugs.

The administration seems to be the only stakeholder in favor of the rule, as the President feels it will reduce drug prices for Americans. US drug makers and pharmacists argue that since the more expensive drugs (such as insulin and biologics) are excluded from the rule, there would not be enough savings to make up for the added costs of relabeling, testing, and the additional regulations. Canadian pharmacists are worried that the exportation of their, already limited, drug supply would threaten their own market. To review the complete article, click here.

  • To review the original HHS proposal, click here.

Threats of legal action against the largest drug manufacturers in the country continue as they continue to withdraw from the 340B program.

The American Hospital Association released an analysis of 340B benefits in opposition to arguments that the program only benefits hospitals due to Medicare reimbursements. One of the key findings of the analysis was that in 2017, 340B saved $64 billion in total benefits for their communities. This analysis comes in the wake of 340B Health threatening legal action and a letter from the House Energy & Commerce committee urging HHS to prevent manufacturers from withdrawing from 340B programs. To read the full analysis, click here.  

The offices of Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bob Casey found that Postmaster General DeJoy has implemented changes to USPS that have caused significant delays in mail-order prescription medications.

The Senators wrote to 5 of the largest pharmacies and PBMs to investigate the extent of how these changes have poorly impacted patient care. The key findings were that there has been a 20% increase in mail-order prescription orders due to the pandemic, however, there has been an 18-32% increase in wait time over this past summer. In July, mail-order pharmacies have accrued over $700,000 in additional expenses costs. If this continues, not only will patients see an increase in costs, but federal spending on prescription drugs will increase. To review the entire report, click here.

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