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Health Secretary Defends Actions on Drug Prices

July 25, 2018

Drug pricing is a complicated issue, but that is no excuse for the media to misunderstand the changes currently taking place in drug markets. Your editorial ignores the significant reforms that have already taken place during President Trump’s time in office, and the much more fundamental shifts that are on the way.

The Times misleads on the administration’s strong support for tougher drug negotiation by state governments. The paper chides us for disapproving a Massachusetts pilot program, but the model Massachusetts proposed involved implementing new negotiation powers while keeping federally negotiated rebates. This fact was left out by The Times and renders the proposal an attempt at double-dipping.

The day after the Times editorial claimed inaction, one of the paper’s health reporters noted that just one piece of our blueprint in the works is “an aggressive move” that could represent “a huge change to the way drugs are priced and sold.” The same day, Merck announced that it was dropping prices for a number of drugs, including a 60 percent cut to the list price of a five-figure hepatitis C drug.

The idea that there’s “nothing good” happening on drug prices, as The Times claimed, will come as news to the Americans who are about to see lower out-of-pocket costs. As we continue implementing our blueprint to put American patients first, President Trump is going to keep proving the doubters wrong.

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