Intended for healthcare professionals


US drug prices should be tied to foreign prices to tackle “global freeloading,” says Trump

BMJ 2018; 363 doi: (Published 29 October 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;363:k4542
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. Montreal

The Trump administration has proposed indexing the prices that Medicare pays for drugs to those paid by health systems in other developed countries, to help bring down the relatively high prices paid by US patients.

The prices the US government pays through Medicare for 27 leading drugs are, on average, 80% higher than those that buyers pay in other developed countries, said a report from the US Department of Health timed to coincide with President Trump’s press conference announcing an “international pricing index.”1

Under the five year proposal the US government would, in an unspecified “50% of the country,” pay steadily lower reimbursements under Medicare part B, the prescription drug coverage programme, until it was paying just 26% more than the “international” price. This, the …

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