US President Donald Trump has cancelled a major drug price initiative after being confronted with a surge in drug use in the US.
In a move the president described as a victory for public health, Trump said Thursday the US will drop its price on a range of prescription drugs to $600 a pill.
“We are dropping our drug pricing, and the cost of prescription pills is going to go down significantly,” he said.
The announcement came a day after the White House announced that drugmakers would be forced to disclose more details of the price increases they had agreed to make under a price freeze imposed in December.
It is unclear how much the move will cost drugmakers, but analysts say the cost will be minimal.
“There’s going to be some price cuts, but it’s not going to hurt,” said Jeff Golin, senior vice president at healthcare consultancy Avalere Health.
“What it will do is it’s going the other way.
It’s going down the cost road.
It will not have an impact on patients, because the prices of these drugs are set in the private market.”
On Thursday, the pharmaceutical industry said the decision would not affect its ability to sell generics.
But drugmakers warned that the US government could move to impose new limits on their drug pricing on Friday.
In December, the US President had asked drugmakers to negotiate a “grand bargain” that would bring down drug prices by as much as 20 percent and would require the companies to provide the government with detailed data on drug prices.
But on Thursday, Trump ordered the US Food and Drug Administration to delay a decision on a new price on several popular drugs, including Zoloft, Cialis and Humira.
The president has also imposed a 90 percent cut in Medicare spending and has ordered a two-year delay of an Obama-era tax on medical devices and devices that use blood pressure monitors, which will cost the US more than $300 billion over the next 10 years.
US Drugmakers, meanwhile, have been working on a plan to reduce drug costs by 30 percent or more over the coming decade.
They said in a statement on Thursday that the Trump administration has taken a different tack, and they had been working with industry partners to develop a proposal.
“The decision by President Trump to reverse his previous plan to raise the price of prescription medication is disappointing,” said Dr. David Binder, president and CEO of the American Medical Association, in a written statement.
“While we welcome a return to a fair and cost-effective approach to drug pricing in the United States, the administration’s decision is likely to result in significant price increases for patients and our health care system.”