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News & Press: Advocacy

Azar Says Patients First Proposals 'Are Happening'

Wednesday, May 16, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Shannon Glaittli
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Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar delivered yet another speech Wednesday in which he outlined HHS' "strategies for reform" with respect to drug pricing. He stated that HHS will be taking both timely and "disruptive" action to lower prices – action focused on the four key areas outlined in the American Patients First blueprint: enhancing negotiation, improving competition, lowering out-of-pocket costs, and creating incentives for lowering list prices. 

Azar also emphasized that the proposals in the blueprint "are happening," including a proposal to move Part B drugs to Part D. He urged pharmaceutical companies and PBMs to "come forward with their own proposals" to make the process as collaborative as possible. He criticized the early responses from manufacturers and other stakeholders to the blueprint, noting that he is familiar with the "old talking points" from his time in the private sector and stated that HHS will proceed with its "disruptive" agenda regardless of the amount of support it receives from stakeholders.

Azar also announced that HHS will send Part D sponsors a letter this week stating HHS considers pharmacist gag clauses unacceptable. He spoke of the importance of ensuring that patients are sufficiently informed so that they can be "smart consumers" of prescription drugs.

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