Mulvaney: Trump Brought Down Drug Prices For The First Time In 50 Years

President Donald Trump announced last month that the GOP will become “the party of health care,” and news reports suggest he intends to make it a top issue in his reelection campaign.

So when Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, touted the administration’s work on prescription drug prices — a hot-button issue that has drawn scrutiny from across the political spectrum, and one that voters say should be a top priority — we were intrigued.

On “Fox News Sunday” April 7, Mulvaney said: “Drug prices in this country actually came down last year for the first time in 50 years. That’s because Donald Trump’s president.”

This statement is particularly hard to prove affirmatively. Drug prices are measured through a host of metrics and affected by all sorts of political and economic forces.

We reached out to the White House for more explanation. Its staff directed us to a report published last October by its Council of Economic Advisers, as well as to data suggesting the consumer price index for prescription drugs declined in January 2019 compared with January 2018.

But experts who reviewed that data said it doesn’t necessarily support Mulvaney’s claim — and certainly not by the magnitude he suggests.

A Broad Brush, And Some Missing Data

We interviewed five experts who all agreed that, no matter which metric was used, evidence is lacking to unequivocally say drug prices decreased last year. The most generous reading came from Matthew Fiedler, a health economist at the Brookings Institution: It’s “within spitting distance of something that’s true.”

But with more examination, the claim’s veracity became murkier.

“Drug prices” can refer to many things: a list price, a net price (what is paid after rebates, or the discounts negotiated by insurers or other payers), the pharmacy’s price or total national spending on prescription drugs.

Let’s start with the latter. Data from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows total spending on prescription drug prices has climbed during the past several years. (KHN is an editorially independent program of the foundation.) In 2018, total spending continued to grow, just at a slower pace. That’s a positive trend, experts noted, but it isn’t the same thing as spending going down.

“It doesn’t mean we’re spending less money on drugs than before,” said Stacie Dusetzina, an associate professor of health policy at Vanderbilt University.

We also examined the CPI data the White House provided. It could suggest that in the past year prescription drugs’ list prices have indeed dropped, and even by a meaningful amount.

But the CPI data doesn’t account for whether manufacturers lowering their list prices have also changed the size of the rebates they provide. That’s essential information in understanding if the real price of a drug — what insurance pays and, ultimately, what consumers pay — has actually changed.

These trend lines also vary depending on the 12-month period they cover, argued Walid Gellad, an associate health policy professor at the University of Pittsburgh. January to January could show a list price decrease, but July to July could show an increase.

Plus, the CPI data includes only drugs sold through retail, or about three-fourths of all prescriptions. That excludes many high-priced specialty meds sold only via mail order, argued Michael Rea, who heads Rx Savings Solutions, a consulting firm.

It also paints with a broad brush — obscuring, many said, just how many list prices are continuing to climb.

This year, the list price of more than 3,000 drugs went up, while the price of only 117 went down, according to data compiled by Rx Savings Solutions. Last year, an analysis by the Associated Press revealed that, from January to July, 4,412 branded drug prices went up, while 46 were cut.

So, Mulvaney’s downward price claim didn’t come out of thin air. But interpreting the data to mean that drug prices are down ignores crucial parts of the prescription drug marketplace.

The White House’s Work

Mulvaney also said Trump has played a key role in bringing down drug prices. When we asked the administration what he meant, a spokesman pointed to their efforts to bring more generic drugs to market — a boost the White House said has fueled competition and helped make lower-price alternatives available to consumers.

But there’s no evidence yet to suggest that the boost in generic drug approvals has that effect. Experts said it takes time for these products to reach the marketplace, create competition and demonstrate a measurable impact on prices.

Indeed, many of those generics, while approved, never went to market. This White House assertion also doesn’t account for high-priced, branded drugs that lack a generic counterpart.

Yes, Trump’s tough talk — accusing pharma companies of “getting away with murder” — may have persuaded some drug manufacturers to hold off on increasing their prices — at least temporarily, or until after the government releases key stats on how many prices have gone up, Dusetzina said. But it’s hard to separate that phenomenon from the pressure also levied by Congress and state legislatures.

For what it’s worth, the administration has proposed many new policies meant to curb drug prices, many noted, such as eliminating some kinds of rebates, or changing how Medicare Part B pays for drugs. But none of those have taken effect — so they haven’t brought prices down.

Our Ruling

Mulvaney said, “Drug prices in this country actually came down last year for the first time in 50 years. That’s because Donald Trump’s president.”

At first glance, CPI data could conceivably support the argument that the list prices for some prescription drugs dipped. But that data doesn’t include many high-priced specialty drugs that drive costs up, and the pattern it illustrates can change based on the time frame selected.

The CPI data set obscures the individual drugs for which the list prices have increased — with far more going up than down. It also does not account for a drug’s true “net price.”

Mulvaney’s statement also does not reflect trends showing that, nationally, spending on drugs has continued to climb, even if that growth has slowed. There is also no evidence to support the argument that Trump himself is responsible for changes in drug pricing.

This claim has an element of truth, but it ignores key facts and context that would give a very different impression. We rate this claim Mostly False.

Kaiser Health News

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Surprise sale slashes the two most popular Instant Pots to their lowest prices of 2019

Best Instant Pot Deals Of 2019

Well what do we have here, bargain hunters!? It looks like Amazon is feeling particularly generous this weekend because out of the blue, it slashed the prices of the two most popular Instant Pot models on the planet to 2019 lows. Well, technically the Instant Pot DUO60 6 Qt 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker is within $ 2 of its 2019 low, but that’s close enough for us — clip the $ 18 coupon on the Amazon page and you’ll snag this incredible $ 100 Instant Pot for only $ 71.99. If you have a big family and you need more capacity, the $ 140 Instant Pot DUO80 8 Qt 7-in-1 Multi- Use Programmable Pressure Cooker is down to just $ 89.99 today, which is this great model’s lowest price since Black Friday. What are you waiting for!?

Instant Pot DUO60 6 Qt 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker,…: $ 71.99

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Here are the key details from the product page:

  • Duo, the number 1 selling multi-cooker, combines 7 kitchen appliances in 1, Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Sauté, Yogurt Marker and Warmer, prepares dishes up to 70% faster to support your busy lifestyle
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  1. Surprise sale slashes the two most popular Instant Pots to their lowest prices of 2019

Surprise sale slashes the two most popular Instant Pots to their lowest prices of 2019 originally appeared on BGR.com on Sat, 9 Mar 2019 at 10:32:20 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


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Home prices could be on the verge of heating up again, according to a new report

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Netflix is testing even more expensive subscription prices

Netflix Price Hike

Every once in a while, we see Netflix test new plans in certain markets, and most of them involve price hikes. The same goes for the latest test that was spotted over in Italy, where the streaming giant is toying with a couple of different scenarios. First spotted by Italian-language blog SmartWorld, the tests suggest that Netflix is toying with the idea of either raising Standard and Premium subscription, or increasing all of its prices across the board.

Continue reading…

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  1. Netflix is testing even more expensive subscription prices

Netflix is testing even more expensive subscription prices originally appeared on BGR.com on Thu, 28 Feb 2019 at 10:56:04 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


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Whole Foods is raising prices less than two years after Amazon’s acquisition

Whole Foods raising prices

Depending on who you ask, Whole Foods is continuing to live up to the unfortunate nickname — “Whole Paycheck” — that cost-conscious shoppers bestowed on it. We’re referring in this case to a leaked email obtained by The Wall Street Journal, which showed that even with Amazon’s deep pockets, Whole Foods is apparently quietly rising prices on many items. The reason being — well, even Whole Foods is not immune to challenges facing its industry peers, with the leaked email noting that the grocer feels the need to keep hiking prices to cover rising costs.

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Podcast: KHN’s ‘What The Health?’ Drug Prices Are Rising Again. Is Someone Going To Do Something About It?

Many drugmakers have announced price increases with the start of the new year. The new Congress wants to do something about that. And even though both Republicans and Democrats want to address the politically potent issue of drug prices, it is unclear what they might be able to agree on.

Battle lines are forming between the House and Senate on the matter of abortion. The House is led by abortion-rights supporters and, since the election, the Senate has become slightly more against abortion.

And even though the majority of the Department of Health and Human Services remains unaffected by the partial government shutdown, the lapse of funding for other agencies is having spillover effects on health programs.

This week’s panelists for KHN’s “What the Health?” are Julie Rovner of Kaiser Health News, Joanne Kenen of Politico, Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times and Alice Ollstein of Politico.

Among the takeaways from this week’s podcast:

  • The biggest conflict among Republicans and Democrats on the drug issue centers on the GOP’s reluctance to give the government a role in directly negotiating prices. Adding to the pressure is the clear indication that the issue will be front and center in the 2020 campaign.
  • Some states, such as California, are looking to find ways to bring down drug costs on their own. California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, has proposed that the state have direct negotiations with drugmakers. Such efforts could mean cutting off consumers’ access to some drugs, if manufacturers don’t agree to a price the state likes, and that is a painful choice for officials and patients.
  • When House committee assignments were released this week, women were appointed to lead many of the key panels that have a hand in health policy, including the chairman and top Republican on the Appropriations Committee and two Energy and Commerce subcommittees.
  • The House Democratic Caucus now has more liberal members and fewer conservatives, so the party’s efforts to roll back restrictions on abortion are likely to be more robust. That could also trigger some big battles with Republicans through the legislative session.
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is putting a bill on the Senate floor that would make permanent the Hyde Amendment — which bars federal funding of abortions in nearly all circumstances. But it seems unlikely that bill could be passed by the Senate, where it needs 60 votes, and even some Republicans are believed to oppose it.

Plus, for extra credit, the panelists recommend their favorite health policy stories of the week they think you should read too:

Julie Rovner: Bloomberg News’ “This JPMorgan Health Conference Is So Packed Attendees Are Meeting in the Bathroom,” by Kristen V Brown

Joanne Kenen: The New York Times’ “The Strange Marketplace for Diabetes Test Strips,” by Ted Alcorn

Margot Sanger-Katz: Kaiser Health News’ “Patients Turn To GoFundMe When Money And Hope Run Out,” by Mark Zdechlik

Alice Ollstein: The Washington Post’s “Federal Officials Launch Audit of D.C. Government’s Opioid Grant Spending,” by Peter Jamison

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1.15.19 Hospitals now posting prices; Car theft on the rise; Contactless credit cards

Hospitals are now posting prices but it doesn’t look like it will actually help consumers right now; Car theft is on the rise mostly because drivers are leaving their key fobs in their cars; Contactless credit cards are coming to your mailbox this year in droves.

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The post 1.15.19 Hospitals now posting prices; Car theft on the rise; Contactless credit cards appeared first on Clark Howard.

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Payless Pranks VIPs, Sells Discount Shoes At Luxury Prices

(AP Photo)

 

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Payless taught fashion influencers a lesson about shoes by opening a fake store that sold Main Street shoes at Madison Avenue prices.

Payless ShoeSource held a launch party in Los Angeles for the bogus label Palessi and invited the fashionistas to sample the merchandise. Payless posted a video of what happened on Facebook.

The VIP shoppers paid as much as $ 645 for shoes that sell from $ 19.99 to $ 39.99 at Payless. The store rang up $ 3,000 before Payless came clean with the reveal.

One shopper exclaimed, “Shut up! Are you serious?”

The pranked shoppers got their money back and were allowed to keep the shoes.

Their reactions will be featured in a series of commercials.

[ione_media_gallery id=”634484″ overlay=”true”]

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Be Thankful for Family, Blessings — and Cheaper Gas Prices

Millions of drivers embarking on Thanksgiving travel this year will get an early holiday gift: lower gas prices very much like the same time last year.

North America’s largest motorist and leisure travel club reported Nov. 19 the national gas price average as $ 2.62. That amount is seven cents less than a week ago and the largest one-week decline in pump price this year.

“The nearly 49 million Americans hitting the road for Thanksgiving will find pump prices similar to last year,” Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson says in a press release. “When it comes time to fill-up during the trip, motorists should keep in mind that gas stations along highly traveled routes may find prices more expensive than in town. Before setting out for the long Thanksgiving weekend, AAA recommends motorists download the free AAA Mobile app to find the lowest gas prices in their area.”

Plus, the AAA app can help motorists make travel arrangements, request AAA roadside assistance and help with other resources.

Here are some tips from AAA to help enhance your driving to get better gas mileage:

  • Accelerate gradually. Avoid jackrabbit starts.
  • Anticipate your stops. When approaching a red light, let your foot off the gas as early as possible.
  • Avoid long warm-ups in the morning. They’re unnecessary and waste fuel.
  • Maintain recommended tire pressure. Low pressure reduces fuel economy and can damage tires.
  • Keep the air filter clean. Clogged filters reduce fuel economy and increase exhaust emissions.
  • Drive the speed limit.

For those flying, the Transportation Security Administration is projecting than 25 million travelers will pass through security screening checkpoints nationally from Nov. 16–26.

Travel experts suggest Americans flying home to gobble some turkey consider these tips:

 

  • Select your travel times carefully.
  • Get some rest before heading to the airport.
  • Wash your hands, often.
  • Be prepared – pack snacks and water in case you’re delayed.
  • Travel light – If going home just for a weekend, no need to check your luggage. The best option might be packing what you need in a backpack that will fit under seats.
  • Charge your devices – Be sure your mobile devices are fully charged before you leave. Don’t let your phone power down on a plane or train. Make sure you take a portable charger for gadgets.

The post Be Thankful for Family, Blessings — and Cheaper Gas Prices appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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New Congress To Tackle Burning Health Care Issues, Including Drug Prices

Voters ranked health care as the top issue facing the country after the midterms, according to CBS News exit polling. KHN senior correspondent Sarah Jane Tribble joined “Red and Blue” anchor Elaine Quijano to discuss how Republicans and Democrats are responding to the American public’s call to action — with a focus on skyrocketing prescription drug prices. Tribble and Quijano also explored how the midterms bolstered Medicaid expansion in a handful of states.


KHN’s coverage of prescription drug development, costs and pricing is supported in part by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.

Kaiser Health News

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Natural gas prices spike on cold weather and lowest early season supply in 15 years

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House Democrats, now in power, will steer health policy, attack drug prices

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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11.2.18 Clark Stinks; Gas prices going down for the Holidays

Christa reads listener posts about how Clark has missed the mark in his advice this week. If you have a “Clark Stinks” to share you can leave it here; Gas prices are going down just in time for the Holidays. And the US is now #1 in getting oil out of the ground.

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UK Shop Prices Return To Deflation: BRC

UK shop prices declined in October following two months of mild inflation, data from the British Retail Consortium showed.
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Could Trump’s plan for lowering prescription drug prices work?

Trump proposed having Medicare base what it pays for some expensive drugs on average prices in other industrialized countries, such as France and Germany.
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SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN:

http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Trump Adds A Global Pricing Plan To Wide Attack On Drug Prices, But Doubts Persist

President Donald Trump’s new pledge to crack down on “the global freeloading” in prescription drugs had a sense of déjà vu.

Five months ago, Trump unveiled a blueprint to address prohibitive drug prices, and his administration has been feverishly rolling out ideas ranging from posting drug prices on television ads to changing the rebates that flow between drugmakers and industry middlemen.

Thursday, Trump proposed having Medicare base what it pays for some expensive drugs on the average prices in other industrialized countries, such as France and Germany, where prices are much lower. The proposal is in the early stages of rule-making and awaiting public comments.

The U.S., Trump said, will “confront one of the most unfair practices, almost unimaginable that it hasn’t been taken care of long before this.”

The proposal was met with hope and skepticism, with several experts saying they were happy the administration was taking on Medicare Part B’s rising drug prices but questioning its approach.

Walid Gellad, director of the Center for Pharmaceutical Policy and Prescribing at the University of Pittsburgh, said in an online post that the administration’s proposed solutions were unclear. And, he said, they would “face insurmountable challenges.”

While some industry watchers pointed to the announcement as a political move, Wells Fargo pharmaceutical analyst David Maris said that this is a broader effort by the president and his administration to attack the root causes of high drug prices.

“The reality is he could very easily not take this on and do what other administrations have done and let the prices keep rising.”

Trump, too, promised more to come and said he will soon announce “some things that will really be tremendous.” On Friday, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said that, as promised in the blueprint, there would be more changes to Medicare Part D, which covers most prescriptions. Ian Spatz, a public policy expert and senior adviser at Manatt Health, said the overall blueprint was “unprecedented in terms of how many different ideas and areas of ideas that it contained.”

Nothing would happen overnight. The proposal to require drug prices in TV ads could be delayed by litigation and notably, if implemented, does not include any penalties for companies who fail to post their prices.

The proposed rebate rule was delivered to the Office of Management and Budget in July. Matt Brow, president of industry consulting firm Avalere Health, said he expects the administration to publish the rule for comment by year’s end.

Trump’s international pricing plan is not as far along as the rebate proposal. Rather, it is an “advanced notice of proposed rule-making.” The proposed rule could come in spring 2019, and Azar said the new model could begin in late 2019 or early 2020.

Yet, on Friday, Azar signaled the proposal could change, telling an audience at the Brookings Institution that the administration is “open to any number of alternative ideas.”

Avalere’s Brow said there is a good chance the proposal will change significantly.

“The sweeping nature of the proposal makes the stakes higher and makes it harder to implement,” Brow said.

If the administration moves forward, it would bypass Congress and implement a pilot under the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation’s purview. The pilot would phase in over five years and apply to 50 percent of the country. Azar said there would be no changes to Medicare benefits and no restrictions on patient access.

The proposal focuses on drugs covered under Medicare Part B, which are administered in hospitals, clinics and doctors’ offices. It also would alter the reimbursement formula for doctors and providers and would allow private-sector vendors to purchase drugs and then sell them to doctors and hospitals. Medicare would reimburse those vendors at the international pricing level.

Currently, doctors and hospitals administering Part B drugs are reimbursed the average price of a drug plus 6 percent. President Barack Obama’s administration attempted to alter Part B as well but drew intense lobbying opposition and eventually withdrew a proposed pilot project.

Allan Coukell, senior director for health programs at Pew Charitable Trusts, said removing incentives that reward doctors for purchasing costlier drugs and bringing in a new way to control prices “makes a lot of sense.” Drug spending within Medicare Part B reached $ 22 billion in 2015, and drug costs have increased by an average of 8.6 percent annually since 2007.

Stephen Ubl, president of the industry trade group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA, said imposing foreign price controls from countries with socialized health care systems would harm patients and hinder drug discovery and development.

Azar, a former executive at pharmaceutical manufacturer Eli Lilly, told reporters Thursday that “you may hear the tired talking points” that this will affect innovation. He disputed that idea, concluding that “less than 1 percent of pharma [research and development] could potentially be impacted by this change.”


KHN’s coverage of prescription drug development, costs and pricing is supported in part by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.

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