National MS Society Comments on President Trump’s Prescription Drug Blueprint
July 25, 2018
In May, President Trump presented his Administration’s Blueprint to reduce prescription drug prices titled “American Patients First: A Trump Administration Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Costs
.” On July 16, the National MS Society submitted comments
on the Administration’s Blueprint and also joined with the Patient Access Network Foundation
and the MapRx
coalition’s comments responding to the Blueprint.
In 2016, the Society convened an Advisory Committee on Access to MS Medications. Comprised of people with MS, family members, health policy experts and healthcare providers, the group developed comprehensive recommendations
to make access to MS medications more affordable and the process for getting them simple and transparent. These recommendations inform all policy positions that the Society takes regarding access to prescription drugs and prices, including our comments on the Blueprint.
The Society appreciates the Administration’s desire to tackle the complex issue of rising prescription drug costs, but the Blueprint lacks sufficient detail to know whether the proposed solutions will result in meaningful reform to reverse the trend of rising prescription drug costs. In its comments, the Society provided context and recommendations for how several of the proposals could have a greater impact for people with MS. Among others, the Society highlighted the following areas where Congress and the Administration could take additional actions to combat skyrocketing prescription drug costs:
- Bringing greater transparency to the prescription drug supply chain to enable consumers to make more informed healthcare decisions;
- Implementing an out-of-pocket maximum for prescription drugs;
- Incentivizing generic drugs and biosimilar medications and eliminating cost-sharing on generic drugs for low-income Medicare beneficiaries;
- Allowing price negotiation between the Department of Health and Human Services and manufacturers;
- Eliminating the “gag” clause in Pharmacy Benefit Manager contracts so that consumers can learn whether there are lower cost alternatives to accessing their medications; and
- Passing on some or all of the benefit of prescription drug rebates to the patient.
The Society believes that leadership from all involved stakeholders—including pharmaceutical companies, insurance providers, pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), specialty pharmacies, healthcare providers, policy makers and people with MS—must work together to ensure that people with MS have access to the medications they need to live their best lives. We look forward to working with the Administration and other stakeholders as concepts from the Blueprint advance.