At the top of Trump’s campaign platform was his plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”). While the ACA’s still here, Trump recently put a spotlight on healthcare and high prescription costs. Now, new Trump health initiatives appear to take aim at lowering prescription medication costs.
Trump met with various officials in New Hampshire this March, including Health and Human Services Secretary (HHS) Alex Azar. The issue on the table: How to bring down skyrocketing prescription drug prices. And while no new Trump health plan emerged, the president promised “a slate of proposals” to decrease prescription drug prices. One goal is to bring the same discounts that middlemen usually enjoy to individual patients. In other words, discounts do exist — consumers just don’t currently see them. “You’ll be seeing drug prices falling very substantially in the not-too-distant future, and it’s going to be beautiful,” said Trump.
Trump Health Initiative to Lower Drug Prices Targets PBMs, Insurers
There has been increasing pushback on higher drug prices from consumers and doctors alike. Despite public outcry, pharma companies say they aren’t getting rich. Instead, they blame higher pricing on middlemen (health insurance companies, drug benefit managers) that don’t pass on discounts to consumers. Trump’s goal is to cut out the middlemen and bring those discounts directly to patients.
Insurer UnitedHealthcare, a so-called “middleman,” recently pledged to return prescription drug discounts to plan members. This new “fully insured commercial group benefit plan” will apply discounts at the point of sale for patients.
This is groundbreaking news that aligns with other Trump health initiatives. In the past, health insurers reportedly used rebates to make plan premiums more affordable. Still, many drug makers question whether that’s really true.
How Proposed Trump Health Initiatives May Help Cancer Patients
While many aren’t sure the president can deliver on his promise to lower drug costs, doing so may save lives. A recent National Center for Health Statistics survey found 8% of Americans don’t take their prescriptions. It’s not because they forget or simply don’t want to take these medications as prescribed. It’s because they can’t afford them at all.
The most costly drugs are life-saving cancer medications. Doctors prescribe Taxotere, for example, to 3 in 4 breast cancer patients today. Yet Taxotere’s cash price for one milliliter is $609.49. Since patients need multiple Taxotere infusions, that cost quickly adds up. And even after paying for this life-saving drug, patients may end up with distressing permanent side effects they didn’t expect. The drug is linked to permanent alopecia — a side effect its manufacturer, Sanofi-Aventis, didn’t disclose to American consumers. Consumers may struggle to cover the medication’s cost, then suffer emotional damage from Taxotere’s permanent hair loss side effect.
Tasigna, another popular cancer drug, has an extremely high price point. Tasigna can cost health insurers upwards of $100,000 per patient every year. This amounts to nearly $8,500 a month! Tasigna’s projected 2018 drug sales total $2.584 billion.
Due to astronomical drug costs, many cancer patients can’t afford treatment. Hopefully, proposed Trump health initiatives will help bring those drug costs down. Right now, even some generic drugs get more expensive each year.
Trump Health Budget Earmarks $300 Million for Cancer Moonshot Initiative
The Omnibus 2018 budget set aside $300 million for the Cancer Moonshot initiative, which also tackles high drug costs. The current Trump health budget also allots $12.6 million to pediatric cancer research. While both campaigns aim to further groundbreaking cancer research, it may also impact drug pricing.
Many are rightly skeptical about the president’s plan to lower prescription drug prices, especially cancer medications. Still, we hope more patients get access to needed, life-saving drugs, regardless of cost.
Taxotere Permanent Hair Loss Victims May Qualify for a Cash Settlement
If you or a loved one have less than full hair regrowth after Taxotere chemo, you may have a valid claim. Taxotere’s maker, Sanofi, listed permanent alopecia as a possible side effect on the drug’s warning label outside the U.S. However, the FDA didn’t force Sanofi to update its U.S. warning label until December 2016 — a full decade after approval.
To see if you may qualify for a significant cash settlement, complete your free Taxotere claim evaluation online today. Just answer three short questions to confirm your claim’s eligibility online before filing your claim. Once you’ve submitted your information, an experienced lawyer will call to help you get the justice and compensation you deserve.
Mandy Voisin is a freelance writer, blogger, and author of Girls of the Ocean and Star of Deliverance. As an accomplished content marketing consultant, mom of four and doctor's wife, Mandy has written hundreds of articles about dangerous drugs and medical devices, medical issues that impact disabled Americans, veterans' healthcare and workers' compensation issues since 2016.